Despairing Bulgarian Lead and Zinc Factory Workers Seek Erdogan's Help - Report

Industry | May 15, 2012, Tuesday // 11:18|  views

Workers at OTzK have launched a petition in their support against massive mismanagement by the factory owner. Technology expert Stefan Atanasov (R) has even gone on a hunger strike. Photo by BGNES

Workers at Bulgaria's largest non-ferrous metal producer, the Kardzhali Lead and Zinc Complex (OTzK), have sought assistance from Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan for an end to grievous mismanaged by the factory owner, according to a report in a Turkish news site.

OTzK workers have complained that they have not received their salaries for months, and that factory owner Valentin Zahariev has been engaging in a chronic draining of the enterprise.

Despairing laborers have gone out on protests and strikes many times since the beginning of the year, and have recently renewed their rallies, with two employees already on a hunger strike.

"Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov came to meet us twice, but nothing happened, so now we want assistance from Recep Tayyip Erdogan," some workers have said, according to Turkish news site AjansBG, as quoted by Bulgarian Focus Information Agency.

The Lead and Zinc Complex, once a state-of-the-art facility, provides the livelihood of an important part of Bulgaria's south-eastern city of Kardzhali, one of the centers of Bulgaria's sizeable Turkish minority.

Due to heavy debts of the OTzK, many fear that it might go bankrupt or even close doors, as lending banks have already initiated proceedings against the enterprise to collect their dues.

Controversial businessman Valentin Zahariev has attracted indignation in another case of mismanagement and failure to pay wages in the Gorubso Madan metal mines, which he was exploiting on concession from the Bulgarian state.

The Bulgarian government then reacted by terminating the concession contract due to breaches, and transferring the mine to a consortium controlled by businessman Nikolay Valkanov.

Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov and Minister of Economy and Energy Delyan Dobrev have however said they have no similar way to counteract developments at OTzK, as the factory is privately owned.

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Tags: Turkish, turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Boyko Borisov, Delyan Dobrev, OTZK, Kardzhali, gorubso madan, Valentin Zahariev, Nikolay Valkanov, workers, protests, strikes, hunger strike


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