Sofia Court Begins Trial on Railways Strike

Society | December 4, 2011, Sunday // 14:06|  views

The Bulgarian Railways strike started on November 24 and is in its 11th day. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

The trial in the civil case filed by the management of the troubled State-owned Railway Company BDZ Holding to declare the workers' strike illegal has been launched.

The news was reported Sunday by the Sofia City Court.

The strike started on November 24 and is in its 11th day.

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.

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 BDZ management insists that the reforms are needed in order to heal the railways and obtain loans and EU financing.

The railways syndicates and the management held difficult talks Saturday, way into the night, but failed to reach consensus on the collective bargaining agreement.

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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, collective bargaining, class labor contract


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