Bulgaria’s Vastly Underpaid Museum Workers Set to Go Out on Strike
The underpaid employees of Bulgaria’s museums and art galleries, including all museums of history and archaeology, are going on a strike with demands for better pay.
In an open letter sent to the Bulgarian Council of Ministers and Parliament, the union of the museum workers has declared its intention for a protest strike which is to take place on December 10, 2015.
December 10 is the holiday of Bulgaria’s St. Cyril and St. Methodius National Library in Sofia, and the strike initiative was first planned by the library’s employees.
In the open letter of the National Culture Federation, a union within the Podkrepa (“Support”) Labor Confederation, the Bulgarian museum workers demand both an increase in their pay, and higher government spending for the preservation of Bulgaria’s cultural heritage.
The letter states that cultural heritage funding in the country has been insufficient for years, and that the 2016 State Budget Act “keeps the tradition” of allocating the least amount of money for it.
The projected funding of BGN 1.4 million (app. EUR 700,000) for cultural heritage projects at the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture cannot cover the restoration of even 1% of Bulgaria’s numerous cultural artifacts, not to mention any kind of support for archaeological research and the arts, state the museum employees.
In their words, the consistent lack of state funding clearly indicates that cultural heritage comes nowhere near being a priority for the Bulgarian government.
What is more, the letter raises the issue of the meager salaries that museum curators receive in Bulgaria.
At present, the senior staff members get about BGN 500 (app. EUR 250) per month, while the junior curators receive only BGN 400 (app. EUR 200).
That is why the museum employees demand that the average monthly salary in the Bulgarian museums and art galleries be increased by at least 50%.
They also want higher budgets for the preservation of cultural heritage properties and artifacts.