Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund

Bulgarian construction workers nearly unpaid for a whole summer of work

Twelve construction workers appeared at the Fair Posting Network Advisory Centre in Sofia in the spring of 2018 and claimed that they had been cheated out of their wages. They addressed their problem to Neli Botevska and Velichka Mikova. These two advisors work for the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB).

The men had been hired by a Bulgarian company, which then sent them to work in Germany. The Bulgarians had spent the whole summer working in the civil engineering sector in North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria. The contract for the expansion of the broadband network had been awarded by the respective communal governments to two major German telecommunications firms. One of the workers reported that he had worked 600 hours from June to the end of August, but had received only a single advance of 770 Bulgarian lev (approx. 385 euros).

The two union representatives from Fair Posting filed a complaint with the labour inspection agency in Sofia, which investigated the case and affirmed the claims for outstanding wages. The company was ordered to pay a fine. Several of the construction workers have now sued for their wages in court. The case was reported on Bulgarian television.

According to the client liability provisions set forth in Art. 14 of the Posting of Workers Act and Art. 13 of the Minimum Wage Law, both the Bulgarian company and the German client are responsible for the payment of wages. Consequently, Velichka Mikova and Neli Botevska engaged their network and contacted the Fair Mobility Advisory Centre of the Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB). Ivan Ivanov is now supporting his Bulgarian colleagues from Frankfurt (Main). Ivanov will write to the German client and assert the construction workers’ claims for the payment of back wages.