Bulgaria: profits soar while wages stagnate

Industry in Bulgaria has one of the highest profit rates but pays some of the lowest salaries in the EU, according to research by the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB).

For example, workers in the textile industry receive on average €276 a month, while their counterparts in Spain get €1,606 for the same work. Even in higher-skilled professions like pharmacy, Bulgarians earn six times less: €536 compared with €3,480 in Spain. At the same time, the rate of return of 31.7% from Bulgarian mining and quarrying is among the highest in Europe – 10 percentage points above the EU average, whereas wages have increased by only 16% since 2012.

According to CITUB President Plamen Dimitrov, wages are higher in all neighbouring countries, with the sole exception of Albania. Bulgaria’s minimum salary is 40% lower and the average salary is about 30% below rates in Romania.

Bulgarian GDP has increased by 47.6% over the transition period between 1990 and 2016, while the real minimum salary rose above its 1990 level by a modest 5-6% by 2016. According to CITUB, this situation is untenable in the EU and must change very soon.
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