Kaloian, the Homeworkers’ Association, was founded in 2002 and later registered officially. Currently Kaloian has more than 5,500 members.
Homeworkers in Petrich and the neighbouring villages carry out the following activities:
As a result of the economic crisis, a majority of the population including homeworkers work both at home and in the local greenhouses where they can grow vegetables or fruit to make ends meet.
- they sew shoes by hand and beads on blouses
- they glue gift bags, and also glue together other carrier bags for bigger supermarkets
- they finish the loose threads on clothes
- they assemble electrical plugs.
In Bulgaria, Convention No. 177 on Home Work has been ratified. What is more, in 2011 a new law was adopted to protect homeworkers. However, in practice nothing has happened to support them.
What is going on at the moment?
First of all, homeworkers do not get their payments on time; they are given short deadlines to execute the orders; they do not receive any payments from health or pension funds.
Therefore, the organization is doing the following:
1. We have opened a shop for homeworkers (given by the town mayor for free without any rent) where goods made by homeworkers from all over the country are sold.
2. We have joined the Management Board of the (national) Bulgarian Homeworkers’ Association.
3. Both Bulgarian associations managed to get health and superannuation fund benefits from the private superannuation fund at half price. Rozalina, Kaloian coordinator, has been made a member of the Petrich local government tripartite committee of employers, homeworkers and government officials. There are currently meetings with employers being held and we think that we will be able to introduce health and pension cover in the biggest factory in Petrich where a lot of homeworkers are employed.
4. In Petrich, the first co-operative of homeworkers is being registered. Most of its members are also rural workers who work in the fields and grow vegetables or fruit. One basic aim is to market their produce so that it is not spoiled and thrown away.
5. The highest priority of the organisation is to identify and organise more homeworkers, particularly those living in villages because they are the most vulnerable.
Rozalina Ivanova, Kaloian coordinator