Bulgarian Employers, Trade Unions, Decry Lobby Groups in Energy Board

Energy | October 17, 2014, Friday // 21:15|  views

A sitting of the Energy Board at Bulgaria's Council of Ministers on September 23. Photo by BGNES

Representatives of Bulgarian employers’ associations and trade unions have complained of the presence of strong lobby groups in the Energy Board in a letter to caretaker Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki and caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva.

According to the letter, the Energy Board at the Council of Ministers “is used irresponsibly to justify decisions already taken” such as the 10% power price hike as of October.

Representatives of employers’ associations and trade unions point out that they will not put up with the practice of being used as the backdrop for PR stunts implying that single-handed decisions are actually consensus decisions.

They warn that in the case of a lack of response from the government, they will reconsider their participation in the Energy Board.

The letter, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio, pays special attention to the decision for the power price hike as of October 1, which was not discussed or voted on by the Energy Board members.

Nikolay Nenkov from the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria argued that the caretaker Minister of Economy and Energy had insisted that 95% of the members of the Energy Board had backed the 10% power price hike which had never been discussed.

Teodor Dechev from the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association expressed reservations about the makeup of the Energy Board and the representation of the different groups included in it.

“It includes, on the one hand, representatives of the national organizations of the social partners, the employers’ associations, and trade unions. On the other hand, it also includes professional organizations. Apart from that, it also includes representatives of all major power generators and power distributors in the country, which are legal persons registered under the Commerce Act. Such a structure creates a situation where thermal power plants, for instance, have more representatives than trade unions, which is unacceptable,” Dechev stressed.

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Tags: energy board, Council of Ministers, power prices, lobbyism, lobby, caretaker government, trade unions, employers


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