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by Oread Daily
Thursday, Jun. 12, 2003 at 5:40 PM
Can't get much more "minimum"
THE MINIMUM WAGE
In Bulgaria, nearly 1000 workers at the idled Turgovishte-based defense plant TEREM continued their protests today and signed a petition to the Bulgarian Parliament, President Parvanov and Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg demanding that their outstanding wages be paid. "We shall not resume our work before our legal right is respected," the petition reads. Earlier in the day TEREM Executive Director Petur Kazandzhiev ordered that all protesting be fired. It is said the workers haven't been paid because their state-owned plant, which was implicated in illegal arms exports last November, has fallen short of orders.
Nonpayment of wages is not an uncommon problem in Bulgaria - or in many other countries around the world. Tens of millions of workers across the globe are being deprived of the fruits of their labor for months, even years, on end. Today, in Russia the wage debt in the public sector alone is put at 1.17 billion dollars. In Ukraine, total arrears in 2001 were 30 per cent more than the country's monthly wage mass. Five million workers in that country are no longer being paid regularly. In Moldava, payments are delayed by as much as two years. In Bulgaria, wage debt increased sevenfold between 1991 and 1996, then doubled again between 1997 and 1998. In Belarus, unpaid wages in 2001 accounted for 7.5 percent of the wage mass. Africa has also been hit hard by this phenomenon, to the point where some have described wage debt as Africa's other epidemic. (SIDA is the French term for AIDS. French-speaking Africans now bitterly joke that the same initials stand for Salaire Impayé Depuis des Années - Wages Unpaid For Years). In Latin America, wage debt is also on the rise. According to the Brazilian government, wage arrears consistently account for the largest number of labor law violations. More than 50 per cent of all cases brought! Finally, unpaid wages in China run into billions of dollars.
Meanwhile, workers at a troubled Bulgarian textile factory were left stunned when bosses offered to pay them in jumpers instead of cash. Bosses of the Montana Textile factory put forward the proposal after 100 workers staged a strike demanding payment of back wages. The workers rejected the offer.
Sources: Novinite (Bulgaria),Bulgarian News Network, Just-Style/AROQ, ILO
The Oread Daily provides daily (Monday-Friday) progressive, left, anti-racist, anarchist, commie, activist, environmental, Marxist, revolutionary, etc. news and information from around the US and around the world.
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