SETTLEMENT OF COLLECTIVE LABOUR DISPUTES ACT

SETTLEMENT OF COLLECTIVE LABOUR DISPUTES ACT

Prom. SG. 21/13 Mar 1990, amend. SG. 27/5 Apr 1991, amend. SG. 57/14 Jul 2000, amend. SG. 25/16 Mar 2001, amend. SG. 87/27 Oct 2006, amend. SG. 7/24 Jan 2012, suppl. SG. 79/13 Oct 2015

Chapter one.
GENERAL

Art. 1. (10 This Act shall regulate the procedure for settlement of collective labour disputes between employees and employers on issues of the employment and insurance relations and the living standard.

(2) The employees shall be represented in the collective labour disputes by the bodies of their professional organisations, and the employers - by the respective heads, unless the parties have authorised other bodies or persons.

 

 

Art. 2. This Act shall also apply to settlement of collective labour disputes between employees and employers - foreign or joint companies or enterprises on the territory of the country.

 

Chapter two.
NEGOTIATIONS AND VOLUNTARY ARBITRATION

Art. 3. (1) The collective labour disputes shall be settled through direct negotiations between the employees and the employers or between their representatives by a procedure freely determined by them.

(2) The employees shall lodge their claims and the names of their representatives in the negotiations in writing.

 

 

Art. 4. (1) (Amend., SG 25/01) If an agreement is not reached or some of the parties refuses to negotiate each of them can seek assistance for settlement of the dispute through mediation and/or voluntary arbitration by trade union or employer's organisations and/or by the National Institute for reconciliation and arbitration.

(2) The negotiations under the preceding para can be held for a period of up to 14 days, and upon agreement of the parties - for a longer period.

 

 

Art. 4a. (New, SG 25/01) (1) The National Institute for reconciliation and arbitration shall assist the voluntary settlement of collective labour disputes between employees and employers. It is a corporate body with the Minister of Labour and Social Policy with headquarters in Sofia and with a statute of an executive agency.

(2) The National Institute for reconciliation and arbitration shall carry out its activity in compliance with this Act and with regulations approved by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy.

(3) Managing bodies of the Institute are:

1. supervisory board;

2. director.

(4) The supervisory board shall consist of two representatives of the representative organisations of the workers and employees, of the employers and of the state. The representatives of the state shall be appointed by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. The director of the Institute shall be a member of the supervisory board by right.

(5) The representatives of the organisations of the workers and employees and of the employers under art. 4 shall be appointed by their national leadership bodies.

(6) The members of the supervisory board shall elect among themselves a chairman on rotation principle for a period of one year.

(7) The supervisory board shall:

1. adopt regulations for its organisation and activity;

2. approve the programmes for the activity of the institute;

3. approve draft annual budget which shall be approved by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy;

4. adopt rules for carrying out mediation and arbitration;

5. adopt criteria for selection and approve the lists of the mediators and arbitrators drawn up upon proposal of the organisations of the workers and employees and of the employers, as well as of the state;

6. promulgate the approved lists under item 5 in the State Gazette.

(8) The director of the National Institute for reconciliation and arbitration shall be appointed by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy upon consultations with the supervisory board.

(9) The director shall:

1. carry out the operative management of the National Institute for reconciliation and arbitration and shall represent it;

2. present to the supervisory board:

a) draft programmes for the activity of the institute;

b) draft budget and accounting report for the fulfilment of the budget of the institute.

(10) The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy shall provide the necessary facilities and material resources for the administrative servicing of the activity of the institute.

(11) The expenses related to the activity of the institute shall be financed by the state budget and by other financial resources.

 

 

Art. 5. (1) Besides by the order of the preceding Art. the dispute can be referred for settlement by a sole arbitrator or arbitration commission upon written agreement between the parties.

(2) The sole arbitrator shall be appointed by the parties.

(3) The number of the members of the arbitration commission shall be determined by the parties. Each of them shall appoint personally an even number of arbitrators who shall elect as chairman another person from the list under para 4.

(4) (Amend., SG 25/01) An arbitrator or a member of an arbitration commission can only be a person included in the list of the arbitrators approved by the supervisory board of the National Institute for reconciliation and arbitration which shall be amended and supplemented by the order of its adoption. The list shall be promulgated in the State Gazette. When necessary it shall be amended and supplemented by the order of its adoption.

 

 

Art. 6. (1) The arbitration dispute shall be considered on the grounds of a written request of the parties or their representatives.

(2) The dispute shall be considered in an open meeting with subpoenaed parties. Heard at the meetings shall be the explanations of the parties, of their representatives, discussed shall be the presented written documents and other materials, heard can also be statements by third persons, as well as conclusion of assessors can be requested.

(3) The dispute shall be considered in two meetings at the most, as the intermission between them cannot be more than 7 days, unless the parties agree on another number of meetings or on another period of intermission between the meetings.

 

 

Art. 7. (1) The arbitration decision shall be ruled in compliance with the acting legislation in writing within three days from the day of the last meeting.

(2) The arbitration commission shall take decisions by a common majority.

(3) The decisions, the reserves and the motives shall be announced immediately to the parties.

 

 

Art. 8. (1) An arbitrator or a member of the arbitration commission working under legal terms of employment shall be entitled to unpaid official leave for the time during which he participates in the settlement of a collective labour dispute according to this Act. The leave shall be considered time of service.

(2) For considering and settlement of the dispute the parties shall pay to the arbitrator and to the members of the arbitration commission the consideration agreed upon between them and the arbitrator or the members of the arbitration commission, as well as all other expenses related to the settlement of the dispute.

 

 

Art. 9. For accomplishment of their claims each of the parties can act upon the other without interrupting the work through organising public meetings, rallies or demonstrations after office hours, informing the public through the mass media or in any other legal way.

 

Chapter three.
STRIKES

Art. 10. If the lodged claims are not granted the employees can declare a symbolic strike - through bearing or placing suitable signs, protest posters, bands, badges or other suitable symbols without interrupting the work.

 

 

Art. 11. (1) (Amend., SG 25/01) When an agreement is not reached on a collective labour dispute according to art. 3 or art. 4, if mediation and/or voluntary arbitration have been sought, or the employer does not fulfil the obligations undertaken to them, the employers can strike by temporarily interrupting the fulfilment of their duties.

(2) The decision for declaring a strike shall be taken by a common majority of the employees in the respective enterprise or division.

(3) The employees or their representative shall be obliged to inform in writing the employer or his representative at least 7 days before the beginning of the strike, to state its duration and the body who will lead the strike.

(4) Under the conditions of the preceding para the employees can declare a strike for solidarity in support of a legal strike of other employees.

(5) The employees can, without prior notice, declare a warning strike which cannot continue for a period longer than one hour.

 

 

Art. 12. (1) While the strike lasts the workers shall be obliged to be in the enterprise during the office hours established for them.

(2) The striking employees cannot undertake activities which obstruct or create additional difficulties for the normal process of activities outside their duties.

(3) Repudiation of the requirements under the preceding paras shall be considered violation of the labour discipline for which the disciplinary sanction stipulated by the Labour Code shall apply regardless of the proprietary, administrative and penal responsibility.

 

 

Art. 13. (1) The participation in a strike is voluntary. No one can be forced to participate or not in a strike.

(2) Prohibited is the creation of obstructions or difficulties for the employees, who do not participate in the strike, to continue their work.

 

 

Art. 14. (1) The employees and the employer shall be obliged to provide, by a written agreement, conditions for carrying out, during the strike, the activities whose non-fulfilment or stopping can create danger for:

1. (new – SG 87/06) the life and the health of the citizens, in need of urgent or emergency medical care, or the ones who have started hospital treatment;

2. (prev. text of item 1, amend. – SG 87/06) the production, distribution, transfer and the supply of gas, electric and heat power, the satisfactory communal and everyday life and transport servicing of the population and for interruption of the television broadcasting, radio broadcasting and the fixed voice telephone services;

3. (prev. text of item 2 – SG 87/06) inflicting irreparable damages to a public or personal property or the natural environment;

4. (prev. text of item 3 – SG 87/06) the social order.

(2) The written agreement under the preceding para shall be concluded at least 3 days before the beginning of the strike.

(3) (amend. – SG 87/06) If the parties do not reach an agreement under para 1, each of the them may request from the National Institute of Reconciliation and Arbitration the subject matter to be solved by an individual arbiter or an arbitration commission. Within a term of three working days from receiving the request, the director of the institute shall assign an individual arbiter or an arbitration commission consisting of arbitrators included in the list under Art. 4a, para 7, item 5. In 7-days term from the assignment, the arbitration authority shall consider and settle the dispute by the manner, set forth in Art. 6.

 

 

Art. 15. During the strike the parties shall make efforts for the final settlement of the dispute through direct negotiations, mediation or in other suitable way.

 

 

Art. 16. A strike shall not be admitted:

1. if the claims laid by the employees contradict the Constitution;

2. (Amend., SG 25/01) when the requirements of art. 3, 11, para 2 and 3 and art. 14 have not been complied with, as well as on issues on which there is an agreement or an arbitration decision;

3. during natural calamities and related urgent and emergency rescue and restoration works;

4. (revoked – SG 87/06)

5. for the settlement of individual employment disputes;

6. (Amend., SG 57/00; amend. – SG 87/06; suppl. - SG 79/15, in force from 01.08.2016) in the system of the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Interior, the judicial, prosecution and investigation bodies, State Intelligence Agency and National Service for Protection;

7. by which political claims are laid.

 

 

Art. 17. (1) The employer, as well as the employees who do not strike can lay a claim for establishing the unlawfulness of a declared, started or concluded strike.

(2) The claim shall be lodged before the district court at the place of headquarters or residence of the employer. When parties to the dispute are employers with headquarters or place of residence in different court regions the claim shall be lodged by a choice of the employers before one of the respective district court.

(3) The case shall be considered within seven days in an open session by the order of the Civil Procedure Code with a participation of a prosecutor.

(4) The court shall rule its decision within three days from considering the case.

(5) (Revoked, SG 25/01).

 

 

Art. 18. (1) (Amend., SG 27/91) The employee shall not receive his salary for the period during which, for reason of participation in the strike, he has interrupted the fulfilment of his duties. He can receive for this period indemnification for account of a specially created strike fund. The fund shall be created by a choice of the employees with their resources or with resources of the trade unions.

(2) Prohibited is the freezing of the strike funds during a strike.

(3) For the time during which he participates in a legal strike the employee shall be entitled to indemnification for the account of the public insurance by the general order, and if the strike is recognised as illegal - only if he has been voluntarily insured.

(4) The time of participation of the employees in a legal strike shall be recognised as time of service.

(5) Paid to an employee who has not participated in a strike, but because of the strike of other employees he could not fulfil his duties, shall be remuneration as in cases of demurrage beyond his responsibility.

 

 

Art. 19. (1) The employee shall not be liable in disciplinary and proprietary aspect for participation in a strike admissible by this Act.

(2) For participation in an illegal strike the employer shall be liable in disciplinary and proprietary aspect according to the provisions of the Labour Code and of the other laws.

 

Chapter four.
LOCKOUT

Art. 20. Upon declaring the strike and for the duration of a legal strike the employer cannot suspend the activity of the enterprise or a part of it and to dismiss employees for the purpose of:

1. preventing or stopping the strike;

2. frustrating the granting of the laid claims.

 

 

Art. 21. (suppl. – SG 7/12) During a legal strike the employer shall not have the right to employ new workers, including such sent by an undertaking providing temporary work, in the place of the striking ones for achieving the purposes according the preceding Art. except when it is required for the accomplishment of the activities under art. 14, para 1 for the duration of the strike.

 

Chapter five.
ADMINISTRATIVE PENAL RESPONSIBILITY

Art. 22. (1) (amend. – SG 87/06) Who violates the provisions of art. 11, para 3 and 5, art. 12, para 2, art. 13, 14, 18, para 2 and art. 20 and 21 shall be fined by 50 to 200 lev unless subject to a more severe sanction.

(2) (amend. – SG 87/06) The violations under the preceding para shall be established by acts drawn up by the bodies assigned to whom is the state employment control and the penal decrees shall be issued by the head of the respective control body according to the subordination of the authors of the decrees.

(3) The establishment of the offences, the issuance, the appeal and the fulfilment of the penal decrees shall be carried out by the order of the Administrative Violations and Penalties Act.

 

Transitional and concluding provisions

§ 1. (1) Every agreement between the parties achieved during negotiations, arbitration or a strike, as well as the arbitration decision shall be obligatory for them and shall be subject to immediate fulfilment.

(2) The disputes related to the fulfilment of the agreements and the arbitration decisions under the preceding para shall be considered by the order of considering disputes regarding the fulfilment of collective labour contracts.

 

 

§ 2. (1) The concepts "employee" and "enterprise" in this Act are used in the context of § 1 item 2 of the additional provisions of the Labour Code.

(2) "Employer" in the context of this Act is every state, economic, public and co-operative organisation and citizens who independently employee persons under legal terms of employment.

(3) The concept "division" in art. 11, para 2 of this Act is used in the context of Edict No 56 for the economic activity.

 

 

§ 3. The implementation of the Act is assigned to the Council of Ministers.

 

Transitional and concluding provisions
TO THE STATE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY ACT

(PROM. - SG 79/15, IN FORCE FROM 01.11.2015)

 

§ 31. This Act shall enter into force from 1st of November 2015, with the exception of § 17 it. 4 according to Art. 69, which shall enter into force from 1st of January 2016.

 

Last edited: 02.07.2018