BULGARIA - TRANSPORT / HEALTH / EDUCATION / GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT (GBVH) / PSYCHOSOCIAL RISKS / SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS-SURVIVORS / OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH (OSH) / PSYCHOSOCIAL RISKS / REMEDIES AND COMPENSATION
Sector - TRANSPORT
Theme - GBVH / SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS-SURVIVORS / PSYCHOSOCIAL RISKS
The Bulgarian transport union FTTUB has negotiated a suite of CBAs containing provisions on victim support and compensation in the municipal urban transport sector in the capital and other large cities. Agreements have also been signed with many companies in different transport sectors, including the 2014 sectoral agreement in urban transport which contains a chapter on violence at work and gender equality, along with measures to manage psychosocial risks, at work as part of a zero tolerance approach to all forms of violence at work. The employer has to implement procedures on violence and harassment at work, including an immediate internal investigation, disciplinary measures, victim support and provision of mental health support, and payment of compensation for victims, and measures to prevent all forms of violence and harassment at work. Provisions on protection and support for victims of TPVH are now included in most of the agreements in the transport sector. In order to get recognition of the problem, the union carried out surveys, campaigns, information sessions and roundtables and in order to raise awareness about the problem and to break the silence around violence against women.
Sector - HEALTH
Theme - OSH / PSYCHOSOCIAL RISKS
Health care unions in Bulgaria have addressed psychosocial risks and violence and harassment at work in agreements dating back to 2013, when the first clauses on psychosocial risks and violence and stress at the workplace were included in the health sectoral collective agreement since 2013, including TPVH. Despite some progress in implementing policies and procedures to prevent TPVH in collective bargaining, unions report that there have been higher levels of violence and harassment. A high-profile national campaign amongst unions and civil society organisations has called for the ratification of C190, including stronger laws and obligations on employers. A sectoral CBA between the Bulgarian national health insurance fund, the Union of Civil Servants and the Federation of Health Care Unions, 14 May 2015, states that the employer shall protect the dignity and honour of the employee during the performance of their duties within the labour contract (Art. 12, para. 5). The employer shall undertake all measures provided by law – inclusive of providing legal protection against moral or physical violation against the employee during the time of performing labour duties as per the labour contract (Art. 6). During the pandemic Bulgarian Federation of Health Services successfully concluded an agreement for a CBA entitling workers to holidays and treatment in a sanatorium after illness. Unions have recommended that the renewal of the 2015 agreement should include new clauses on prevention and psychosocial risks, in response to the worsened conditions faced by health workers and rising levels of TPVH, exhaustion and burnout during the pandemic.
Sector - EDUCATION
Theme - REMEDIES AND COMPENSATION
Bulgarian teachers have been involved in successful lobbying to change the criminal law and in implementing prevention measures in the school sector in Bulgaria, resulting in a positive impact in reducing TPVH against teachers. The Trade union of Bulgarian Teachers has been a driver for reforms in education through cooperation in the Ministry of Education’s Tripartite Council for Social Dialogue on improving the quality education in Bulgaria. In 2013 the Bulgarian Union of Teachers commenced a campaign aimed at amending the Bulgarian penal code, which resulted in a change in the law in 2013 criminalising violence and harassment against teachers. The resulting Article 131(2) of penal code provides for the conviction of perpetrators of violence against teachers, amongst other professions, where bodily injury has taken place in the course of or in relation to carrying out his/her duties or functions. The union has carried out a range of actions to raise awareness and in calling for training in managing and reacting to cases of TPVH. Campaigns include “No to Violence”, which led to a petition being presented to government, and the “For Kindness in the education” campaign, aimed at raising awareness about TPVH. In addition, the Ministry of Education has introduced various measures to reduce school-based TPVH, including the training of 11 000 teachers on how to prevent aggression and to respond appropriately to acts of TPVH, implementation of long-term prevention initiatives, such as, increasing extra-curricular activities in order to engage students’ energy out of school, and training for teachers in social and emotional skills.