Workers at Bulgaria's State Mines Launch Effective Strike

Business | January 15, 2012, Sunday // 11:48|  views

The three open-pit mines at Maritsa Iztok Mines AD supply coal to four thermal power plants, whose output covers 25% of the country's electricity needs. File photo by

Miners at Bulgaria's State-owned Maritsa Iztok Mines are launching an effective strike at 8 pm Sunday.

The news was reported by the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, citing Valentin Valchev, Chairman of the Confederation of Independent and Free Syndicates in Bulgaria, KNSB, at the company. The strike will involve all three mines. The workers will show up for work, but will not fulfill their job duties.

"The entire strike committee visited the three mines, and met will people from two shifts – 100% of them support the plan for effective strike over the irresponsible attitude of the employer," Valchev said.

Saturday the miners launched a symbolic protest, warning that effective strike was in store, after talks failed Friday - workers just signed upon going to work that they support the future strike and are against what they have labeled "the irresponsible behavior of the company's management."

About four thousand miners and administration employees have joined the strike action, supported by Bulgaria's two main trade unions.

The main subject of argument is a better payment, and in particular a request for a cash bonus workers were promised in the summer.

The argument between the management of Maritsa Iztok Mines AD and the syndicates at the state-owned company has been going on for a month, but the talks have failed to bring a resolution.

The trade unions insist that the employer comply with the agreement signed on July 12, 2011 regulating the relative share of the wage costs in relation to the company's revenues.

They claim that Evgeni Stoykov, CEO of Maritsa Iztok Mines AD withdrew his signature from the document despite the anticipated BGN 500 M in revenues of the company, thereby leaving the miners without year-end bonuses.

The management of Maritza Iztok Mines AD, however, has said that it has fulfilled all of its commitments under the agreement.

Bulgaria's PM Boyko Borisov sided with the company's governing body, falsely claiming that the miners were better paid than the Finance Minister.

Asked to comment on the matter, Energy Minister Traicho Traikov noted that he appreciated the work of the miners, who had doubled the output of the company, but added that the 15% pay rise they had been given had been an adequate reward.

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Tags: Maritsa Iztok, mines, miners, Strike, syndicates, trade unions, Boyko Borisov, Traicho Traikov, coal, effective strike, Strike, KNSB


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