Day 11 for Bulgaria's Railways Worker Strike

Business | December 4, 2011, Sunday // 10:43|  views

Bulgarian labor unions are staging a mass strike after recent announcement of the management of the state-owned railway company BDZ that it intended to lay off 2 000 workers by January 2011. Photo by BGNES

Despite expectations and hopes that the workers strike at the troubled State-owned Railway Company BDZ Holding is going to come to an end Saturday, it is continuing Sunday for the 11th consecutive day.

The railways syndicates and the management held difficult talks Saturday, way into the night, and the only clause left to be agreed on is how the workers, who will be laid off, will be protected.

BDZ board of directors president Vladimir Vladimirov announced that the company has offered trade unions a new version of the collective bargaining agreement for consideration. The syndicates immediately countered they were disappointed by the proposed text and will respond to it at the Monday meeting.

Passenger and freight trains will be halted between 8 am and 4 pm.

The strike was announced as termless. The labor unions are adamant the strike will continue until an agreement is reached with the BDZ management. They demand the signing of a class labor contract under the same parameters as before the announced start of the reform.

The syndicates blame the management of BDZ and the National Company Railroad Infrastructure in applying "lockout" to the strike and replacing striking workers with others without the needed qualifications. They are appealing to more workers to join the strike.

On Monday, BDZ Freight Transport and BDZ Passenger Transport filed a Court claim to declare the strike illegal.

The management of the company and Transport Minister, Ivaylo Moskovski, promised that no one will be fired for taking part in the strike, even though they deem the action illegal.

The labor unions vowed to stage an effective,  mass, termless strike after the recent notice of the management of the heavily indebted state-owned railway company BDZ Holding that it intended to lay off 2 000 workers, and reduce the number of trains in operation by 150 (later scaled down to 138) by January 2012. In addition, ticket prices along state-subsidized routes will be increased by 9% as of January 1, 2012, and those of "business trains", i.e. the handful of profitable railway routes in Bulgaria – by 15% as December 1, 2011.

The strike began on November 24

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Tags: BDZ, Strike, Bulgarian State Railways, railway workers, protest, layoffs, layoff, Transport Ministry, Transport Minister, Strike, trade union, BDZ, Bulgarian State Railways, Ivaylo Moskovski, KNSB, railway strike, syndicates, BDZ, trains, state railways, Podkrepa


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