Bulgarian syndical activists launch a campaign for migrant workers support

Bulgaria is well known for low wages and decreasing living standard. Bed living conditions provoke mass labour migration to Western countries. Bulgarian workers often don’t know detailed information about working conditions abroad and become victims of overexploitation.

In January 2017 the Autonomous Worker’s Syndicate launched a campaign to migrant workers in the EU against exploitation. For the last couple of months, they gathered information from different European countries and prepared leaflets for each one of them, containing detailed information about negotiated salaries in different sectors, working hours and other country specific information. Now they are starting series of public events to meet workers who are about to go work abroad, give them information, leaflets and contacts with grass roots unions, anti-racist networks and activist groups that work with migrant workers in Europe. They also started a hotline for workers’ signals about exploitation and human traffic.

The main goal for campaign is to organize the precarious migrant workers coming from the poorest areas in Bulgaria. Syndicate wants to put their struggles in the context of pan-European social struggles against capitalism. It believes the first step in that direction is the creation of a militant migrant worker’s section of their union. The goal is the section to become strong enough to fight back against traffickers, bosses and exploitation. The section consists mainly of workers that go regularly back and forth abroad and work both in western Europe and in Bulgaria, but also of workers that work permanently on the west, but are willing to participate in organizing migrant workers coming from Bulgaria and the Balkans.

Syndicate calls for all the grass roots unions and organizations that work with migrant workers to help us with our campaign by sharing the information and give our contacts to migrant workers from Bulgaria in their areas. Also, it will be really helpful, if you share with them any experience that you have with migrant workers from Eastern Europe.

To the organizations working with Bulgarian migrants syndicate offers its help by translating materials and translation assistance while contacting the workers.

The initiative group hopes the campaign will not only help the workers in their struggles, but also create channels for permanent communication and solidarity between trade union organizations from different parts of Europe.

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