International youth delegation on work visits in Varna

After the Regional youth conference held on 9 August 2017 in Sofia, FTTUB organized a five-day program for exchanging trade union practices, planning future joint activities with European and international transport federations, and preparing the initiatives of FTTUB Youth Committee. Work visits were organized at Varna-East Port, Varna Public Transport and Varna Airport; as well as a working meeting in the village of Kyulevcha between representatives of the youth committees of FTTUB, ETF and ITF. Participants in this program were the vice president of the International Transport Federation (ITF) and president of FTTUB Ekaterina Yordanova; Paolo Cestoni – representative of the Argentinian UPSA union and member of ITF Youth Committee; Patricia Lauder from the Spanish CCOO union and a member of the ETF Youth Committee; the co-chairs of FTTUB youth committee Georgi Georgiev and Alina Milusheva – the latter being also a member of the youth committees of ETF and ITF – and the young members of FTTUB Elitsa Bikova and Ignacia Stefanova.

On August 13, during the working meeting in Kyulevcha, representatives of the three committees decided to continue and disseminate the initiative of FTTUB youth committee presented at the Regional youth conference in Sofia – for an active involvement of the trade unions in achieving the UN goals for sustainable development.

The participants reviewed the work of the three committees since their inception, and discussed the role that each one of them personally could play in ensuring the ongoing dialogue between FTTUB, ETF and ITF youth committees.

14 August was dedicated to workplace visits.
At Varna-East port, the youth delegation was personally welcomed by Timka Filcheva – leader of the trade union, part of FTTUB, and Nina Ivanova, member of FTTUB youth committee.

Work conditions, level of unionization, and strategies to attract young transport workers to the union movement were discussed. The foreign guests received a tour of the port and had the opportunity to experience the conditions in which their colleagues and peers from Bulgaria worked first-hand.

More details and the personal impressions of Nina Ivanova and Paolo Chestoni from the meeting coming soon in a special interview, taken at the port of Varna-East, minutes after its completion.

Later, the youth visited Varna Airport, where they were welcomed by the chair of the trade union organization at the airport, Petranka Shomova, and the training and security projects manager of ‘Fraport Twin Star’, Orlin Bankov.

The meeting presented the history of aviation in Bulgaria, the vision, the mission and the goals of Varna airport; and the new goal – the corporate vision of satisfied customers and innovation “Letting the airport into the hearts of the passengers”. All departments are involved in the activities to achieve this goal. The guests were also presented with the horizontal airport management structure, which facilitates communication between departments and on a worker-manager level. This type of structure facilitates the easier integration of new concepts and innovations, and stimulates workers to share ideas and to solve possible problems more quickly. One example was the ‘Fit 4 life’ fitness center, created with the joint efforts of employees and management in February this year, with 24-hour access. To promote awareness and better communication, Varna Airport has an intranet communication system and a newspaper for the employees.

Issues of social security, working conditions and wages, as well as the added value of courses and trainings, which many of the newcomers receive, have been discussed. Guests were introduced to the licensed summer internship program – one of the successful programs where 30% of trainees are hired by the airport or find a job around Europe or at Fraport affiliates. The topic of seasonal workers and those on permanent contracts, as well as the policy of Varna Airport on the issue, was touched upon.

Later in the day, a working meeting was held with employees and youth representatives from “Urban Transport” Varna. The delegation, led by FTTUB president Ekaterina Yordanova, was personally welcomed by the trade union leader Pavlina Nikolova. Milen Kolimechkov, head of the transport sector at the company, introduced the participants to the structure and the nature of work in the company, while Mrs. Nikolova presented the trade union organization.

During the talks, a number of questions were raised, related to the organization of work and the working conditions of workers. The meeting ended with a visit to one of the maintenance workshops on the premises of the company, where the repair works of the buses of “Urban Transport” Varna are carried out.

The tourist visits around Bulgaria organized for the young delegates were part of the National Tourist Movement’s program “Know Bulgaria – 100 national tourist sites” , presented at the Regional youth conference. The guests visited the Tsarevets Architectural and Museum Reserve in Veliko Tarnovo; the monument “1300 years Bulgaria” in Shumen; and the Medieval relief “Madara Rider”; got acquainted with Bulgarian traditions and took part in the activities celebrating the patron day of Varna (15 August).