Bulgaria Country Study 2016

Bulgaria Country Study 2016

Read more about the current situation in the garment industry in Bulgaria in the 2016 FWF Country Study.

The largest non-compliance issue to date falls under ‘payment of a living wage’, usually found during social audits. This is mainly due to garment factories working under cut, make, and trim (CMT) arrangements, and the mandatory “minimum social insurance thresholds” regarded by the employers as the “maximum wage”, as well as the lack of collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) in the apparel industry since 2012.

Additional frequently-found violations fall under ‘working hours’. Although a common problem within the garment industry due to seasonality, urgent orders, etc., overtime work can also be blamed on bad organisation, overlapping orders in order to retain clients or the perception that overtime in the industry is normal. Some workers prefer to work overtime, as it is paid at premium rate according to the Bulgarian labour code (LC), which means workers can earn a bit more to add to insufficient wages. Other workers prefer to not work overtime, desiring a better work-life balance.

Health and safety non-compliances are largely due to Bulgaria’s very comprehensive Health and Safety Act and the accompanying regulations. Non-compliances most frequently concern non-ergonomic chairs, congested shop floors with blocked evacuation routes, workers not using personal protective equipment (PPEs) when required, incomplete first aid kits, non-performed medical checks and non-performed physical factors measurements.

As an EU Member State since 2007, Bulgaria has absorbed European legislation into their national legislation, ratifying 100 of the ILO conventions, including the eight fundamental conventions. Bulgaria has also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Fair Wear Foundation in Bulgaria

Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) has been active in Bulgaria since 2006, when an audit team was formed. According to the latest FWF annual report 10, FWF member companies were sourcing from 21 Bulgarian suppliers. Currently, FWF Workplace Education Programmes (WEP) trainings were carried out throughout the second half of 2016.

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