Yuzhna Bulgaria; Yuzhen tsentralen; Kardzhali
Location of affected unit(s)
Manufacture Of Material For Textiles, Apparel, Leather And Related Products
Manufacture Of Wearing Apparel
14.1 - Manufacture of wearing apparel, except fur apparel

140 jobs
Number of planned job losses
Job loss
Announcement Date
12 May 2019
Employment effect (start)
30 April 2019
Foreseen end date
15 May 2019


The Turkish owned garment factory Sonmez International, based in Djebel, formerly providing employment to thousands of workers, announced bankruptcy on 15 April and sent termination notices to workers. It will dismiss all of its 140 workers.

The CEO confirmed there are potential buyers and that the management wants to finalise the deal quickly, so that the workers can retain their jobs with the new owner. According to him, the workers representatives at the factory also supported such an arrangement and 80% of the workers would like to stay.

The mass dismissals were reported to the Labour Inspectorate on 30 April and caused discontent among some workers. They sought help from the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB). Even though they are not represented in the factory, CITUB decided to help protect the workers’ rights. Trade unions claim that instead of terminating the contracts 1 month after the notice, on 15 May, the company has been obliging workers to sign mutual termination agreements. This would mean that 2 months’ gross wages will not be paid and the workers will not have the full unemployment benefits from the employment agency. The CEO stated that the company observed the mass dismissals procedure, which was confirmed by the Labour Inspectorate following a thorough inspection.

The owner is selling the factory in Bulgaria after having sold his factories in Bursa, Turkey 2 years ago. This occurred due to the fall in demand from big brands due to Brexit.



Eurofound (2019), Sonmez international, Bankruptcy in Bulgaria, factsheet number 97723, European Restructuring Monitor. Dublin, https://restructuringeventsprod.azurewebsites.net/restructuring-events/detail/97723.