Talks on Bulgaria's Maritsa Iztok Mines Strike ResumeEnergy | January 20, 2012, Friday // 08:13| views
Bulgaria's energy regulatory body has warned of a 10-15% increase in the price of electricity if the miners refuse to go back to work for one month. File photo
Тhe talks between the governing body of Bulgaria' s biggest State-owned coal-mining company, the Maritsa Iztok Mines, and the syndicates are resuming Friday, while the strike there is entering its sixth day.
The negotiations are being launched again on the Thursday order of Economy and Energy Minister, Traicho Traikov.
Also on Thursday, the mines management, after talks with the syndicates, announced that all workers will receive additional money – 10.5% of their gross monthly wage for the third quarter to be paid by January 25th. The labor unions, however, declared that this promise has nothing to do with the BGN 1 000 per miner they are demanding on the grounds the mines have produced way more coal more than what was planned.
The striking employees refused to provide railroad transportation for the coal from Pernik in western Bulgaria to the Thermal Power Plant, TPP, Maritsa Iztok 2 and insisted on resuming talks on the class labor contract and on the requests in the strike declaration.
Meanwhile, the President of the Confederation of Labor Podkrepa (Support) – one of the two major syndicates in Bulgaria – Dr. Konstantin Trenchev, sent a letter to Social Policy and Labor Minister, Totyu Mladenov, alerting him that the management of the mines is planning to fire syndicate members and participants in the strike.
The strike at the Maritsa Iztok Mines started on Sunday at 8 p.m.
The 7100 employees of Maritsa Iztok Mines AD insist that they be paid bonuses of BGN 1000 for the record output achieved in 2011 in line with an agreement signed on July 12, 2011.
The syndicates at Maritsa Iztok Mines AD ask that the employer comply with the document regulating the relative share of the wage costs in relation to the company's revenues.
They claim that CEO Evgeni Stoykov withdrew his signature from the agreement despite the anticipated BGN 500 M in revenues of the company, thereby leaving the miners without year-end bonuses.
The management of Maritsa Iztok Mines AD, however, has said that it has fulfilled all of its commitments under the agreement and declared the strike illegal.
The workers are also against shutting down power capacities in the country, which will lead to the closure of mines.
They further oppose the increase in the retirement age which they see as "genocide" towards Bulgarian workers.
On Wednesday, the other major labor union – the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) refuted the claims of Angel Semerdzhiev, Chair of the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (DKEVR), that power prices would rise by at least 10% from July 01, 2012 unless the miners went back to work in a month.
The syndicates insisted that such allegations were an expression of extreme and harmful populism and constituted an attempt to set Bulgarian people against the "justified demands of the protesting workers".
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