Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov on Sunday backtracked on plans to freeze the minimum wage at its 2014 level in the next year’s budget.

Instead, he said he will propose to increase the minimum wage by BGN 40 from its current level of BGN 340 in two steps next year  – to BGN 360 from January 1 and, “in the absence of a major cataclysm,” to BGN 380 from the middle of 2015. 

Speaking on BNR radio station, Goranov said that talks with labour unions and most employers’ organizations have dispelled his main fear that a sharp one-off increase in minimum wage will pressure the labour market.

“Therefore, I am ready to give up insisting on keeping the minimum wage unchanged and I will propose to increase it, albeit not as steeply” as unions had suggested earlier, said Goranov.

“This evolution in the Finance Ministry’s position has become possible thanks to the process of consultations” with unions and employers, he added.

The ministry’s initial proposal, part of its 2015 budget blueprint, called for keeping the minimum wage unchanged at BGN 340 next year before raising it by BGN 20 in each of the following two years.

The Social Policy Minister Ivaylo Kalfin said earlier this week week he wouldn’t give up pressing for increasing the minimum wage to give a boost to the economy.

Goranov said earlier on Sunday the government will do its best to boost investment and consumption while maintaining fiscal stability.