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Trade unions called for speeding up the adoption of next year’s budget and raising wages in line with inflation.

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Bulgaria to demand higher salaries as rising inflation levels hit the country.

Friday’s demonstration, organised by the country’s two largest trade unions, saw protesters gather in front of the parliament building holding banners and chanting requests for better pay.

The unions gave the government a joint declaration to speed up the adoption of next year’s budget to avoid the risk of freezing the minimum wage at its current level despite inflation.

The declaration also called for support for large groups of people that were exposed to energy poverty before winter and the protection of labour rights.

The protest continued with a procession of more than 1,000 cars, passing along the main boulevards in the capital, Sofia, causing significant traffic jams.

Bulgarian's protesting
Bulgaria’s main trade unions protest, demanding workers’ salaries increase to reflect inflation and a regular government to implement the country’s income policies [Spasiyana Sergieva/Reuters]

Currently, Bulgaria is governed by a caretaker cabinet with limited powers after emerging from its fourth general election in less than two years.

The election produced a fragmented parliament and no viable coalition, leaving the country in political gridlock.

Lyuboslav Kostov, the top economic expert of the independent labour unions, urged legislators to do their job and form a government which will submit a state budget for next year.

He explained that the new budget must include an increase in minimum wages if the country wants to join the eurozone on January 1, 2024.


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