Bulgarian Railroad Workers to Stage Mass Rally in Sofia

Business | May 17, 2012, Thursday // 15:35|  views

Shedding of personnel by ailing BDZ provoked a month-long workers' strike last November. Photo by BGNES

Employees of Bulgaria's State Railways company, BDZ Holding, from all over the country will stage a mass protest rally on May 30.

The rally under the motto "No to the Ruin of Bulgaria's Railways," is going to be held in the capital Sofia, at 1 pm, in front of the building of the Ministry of Transport.

The railroad workers' union at the Confederation of Free and Independent Syndicates in Bulgaria, KNSB, has already started a petition in all Bulgarian regions in support of their demands.

Union leader, Petar Bunev, is quoted saying that BDZ is going to layoff a number of people, despite promises of Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski that the layoffs will be minimal and will not extend to freight services.

The new wave of discontent came in the aftermath of reports that the BDZ management is planning new mass layoffs of workers at both passenger and freight services.

The labor unions claim that at least 1 000 individuals will lose their jobs and threaten a new strike.

The BDZ management has confirmed the plan, but rebutted they would be large-scale layoffs.

The labor union activists insist that one year after the reforms in the railroad company and the dismissal of over 2 000 workers, the only result is shrinking operations and worsening conditions.

They say that 1 050 will be sacked now and more in the fall until the county's railways become extinct.

Moskovski and the Chairman of the BDZ Board of Directors, Vladimir Vladimirov, counter that fewer people will be dismissed and these layoffs, involving some concrete jobs, had been planned a long time ago. Vladimirov further says he is not at all worried about the strike threats and the company is set firmly on the path of reforms while Moskovski points out that any strike will be detrimental to the railroads.

Bulgaria's State Railways company has been experiencing chronic financial problems, with debts as of October 2011 amounting to some BGN 771 M.

Reforms were carried out in 2011 including cutting down on passenger trains and personnel, which provoked a massive railway workers' strike last November.

In contrast to the passenger transport section of BDZ, freight transport has been steadily registering profits.

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Tags: rally, protest, KNSB, Ivaylo Moskovski, reforms, Vladimir Vladimirov, Strike, layoffs, labor unions, Bulgarian State Railways, BDZ, state railways, Freight Transport, transport, Bulgaria, railways


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