Bulgarian Lead Workers Get One-time Cash AssistanceSociety | March 31, 2012, Saturday // 10:59| views
Workers of the Lead and Zinc Complex in Kardzhali have staged a number of rallies to protest the fact they have not received any wages since October, 2011. Photo by BGNES
Workers of the Lead and Zinc Complex in Kardzhali, the leading Bulgarian non-ferrous metals producer, are going to receive Saturday one-time cash assistance.
The payments will be distributed under the personal control of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, and Social Policy and Labor Minister, Totyu Mladenov, who are expected to land in the city on the government's helicopter.
Workers, who have not received salaries for half year, will get BGN 325 each, secured by the Social Assistance Agency.
Employees from the local Directorate of the National Social Security Institute, NOI, and Labor Bureau have received emergency calls to report to work Friday evening and spent the night in their offices to prepare documentation for about 519 workers who are owed salaries.
Upon hearing the news people started flocking around 8:30 pm Friday to submit applications for assistance – 400 such applications have been received by midnight.
Also on Friday, the workers filed personal claims in Court against the owner of the plant, Valentin Zahariev. They demand the replacement of the entire management, starting with him.
The Lead and Zinc Complex is owned by Zahariev, now-former owner of the Gorubso Madan metal mines. Gorubso Madan miners finally received their overdue wages on Saturday after they had been staging protests for two weeks.
Zahariev announced Thursday that he had been able to secure a loan in the amount of BGN 1.5 M to pay the salaries, but failed to set an exact deadline on grounds he was still seeking collaterals for loan.
Representatives of the Confederation of Independent Syndicates in Bulgaria, KNSB, at the plant are adamant they will protest until the money gets to the workers' bank accounts. They even threaten to move the blockades to the capital Sofia and say they do not believe one single word that comes from Zahariev.
It was announced one week ago that businessman Nikolay Valkanov will be taking over the concession of the Gorubso Madan metal mines from Valentin Zahariev. Valkanov is a former VP of Multigroup, and currently owns "Minstroy" and Gorubso Zlatograd and has a concession of the "Varba" mine.
According to Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister, Delyan Dobrev, in the case with the Kardzhali plant, the State has no useful mechanism to pressure Zahariev, because the plant is not a State-granted concession. He, however, promised that the government will apply all effort to assist in finding a solution for the problem.
The Minister promised to talk with Zhariev's creditors to find out their intentions. He says that as it was in Madan, poor management is to be blamed for the overdue wages of the workers at the Kardzhali plant.
The Prosecutor's Office has launched a probe against Zahariev.
Meanwhile, it emerged Thursday that the deal with Gorubso Madan is near conclusion and there is a need of just one signature to make it a fact.
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