Bulgaria is in the top 3 in the EU in terms of net salaries in this sector, and yet people are hard to find.
The transport industry in our country is experiencing an acute shortage of professional drivers. The difficulty in the sector related to not having enough drivers has been there for years. The problem is not only in Bulgaria, but in all of Europe. According to the latest data, nearly 500,000 drivers are not available in the EU, they are not available in the entire European Union, Dimitar Dimitrov, director of the Chamber of Motor Carriers, explained to BNR. According to him, a temporary solution to the problem in our country may be the relaxation of the regime for importing personnel from third countries.
“The problem with the lack of drivers is a long-standing one. According to the latest data, around 500,000 drivers are not available throughout the EU. We have repeatedly mentioned that the Mobility Package, which was forcibly imposed by our Western partners, is one of its aims to solve this problem with the leaders in all major Western countries,” Dimitrov said.
According to classifieds sites, salaries for international drivers start at BGN 2,500 and reach over BGN 7,000 gross.
Due to the European legislation, a one-stop service was introduced in Bulgaria – for the employment of a foreign citizen, documents are submitted to the “Migration” Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior, some of the documents are examined by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, another part is examined by the National Tax Service. This second procedure is extremely slow, the industry is alarmed. Thus, in general, hiring a driver from a third country takes about 6 months.
If we are not the country that pays the largest net net remunerations to drivers, we are certainly in the top 3 of Europe, Dimitar Dimitrov also notes.
Where are the most wanted workers?
“Perhaps tens of thousands of Ukrainians have started working in Poland as drivers of international freight transport. In neighboring Serbia, in the city transport in Belgrade, maybe half of the drivers are from Nepal”, he gives an example and adds – it is imperative to ease the import regime of personnel from third countries.
Dimitrov is adamant that importing workers from other countries is the immediate solution.
Many of the big companies have their own driving schools to train professional drivers, the pay is also high.
The bus industry is also affected by the lack of professional drivers. According to Petar Zahariev from the National Association of Bus Carriers in Bulgaria, who is the owner of a transport company from Montana, there are buses, but there is no one to drive them.
This is also one of the reasons for the closure of intercity lines. According to him, the lack of state policy is the main problem for deepening the crisis.
“The problem with the lack of personnel in Bulgaria is very acute, deepening with each passing year. It is the result of the lack of any policy of the Bulgarian governments in this regard – training of the younger generation and profiling as drivers, fitters and other technical staff. You can see how we deal with this problem in Vidin, in Vratsa, in Montana, and in the rest of Bulgaria, but here it is more acute, the so-called rural lines are simply being closed, and city lines in these cities. Because first of all there are no passengers, but with no less weight is the problem of no drivers. That is, at the moment we as carriers have enough buses to drive every day several times to every populated place, but there are no drivers, the buses are standing,” explained Zahariev.