Bulgaria Railway Strike Enters Day 17 after Talks FailureSociety | December 10, 2011, Saturday // 12:27| views
Bulgarian railways workers rally, chanting and carrying posters that read: “Stop the genocide” and “GERB - impotent in governing, potent in police state.” Photo by Sofia Photo Agency
The strike of the Bulgarian Railways workers is entering its seventeenth day on Saturday as trade unions urge the outgoing president to intervene for the sake of national security.
No negotiations have been scheduled for Saturday after the break-down in Thursday's talks between trade unions and employers in the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) that did not lead to any constructive solutions and paved the way for more strikes.
The two major syndicates in Bulgaria have requested from outgoing President, Georgi Parvanov, to convene the Consultative Council on National Security over the railways strike, saying the company is a factor in the national security.
On Wednesday, the BDZ governing body proposed changes to the collective labor contract from 2009, but the only proposal accepted by the striking workers was the new bonus system set to be launched in 2012.
The striking workers insist on signing the collective labor agreement as it is and oppose to any wage drops, while also demanding the resignations of BDZ CEO Yordan Nedev and Vladimir Vladimirov, Chair of the Board of Directors of BDZ Holding.
The labor unions have 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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