Bulgaria's Trade Unions: Time Is Not Ripe for Nationwide Strike
Bulgaria's two major trade unions do not believe that the current situation in the country necessitates a national strike.
Responding to calls of protesting students for a nationwide strike, CITUB President Plamen Dimitrov argued that it was too early for the step, adding that a 180 degree change was possible within a week or two or more.
"A nationwide strike is a very complex activity and it must happen at the most appropriate moment. Although there are problems in many sectors, the current situation does not necessitate a decision for a nationwide strike. The situation is very complicated, but we must not rush to declare nationwide protests unless they have a firm grassroots backing and have been prepared by the common people. A 180 degree turn may take place over the next week or two or more," Dimitrov declared in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) on Sunday.
Commenting on the ongoing blockade of the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" by students demanding the resignation of the socialist-led coalition government, he suggested that the anger of students, as well as the rallies organized by them, had always had a moral dimension.
He emphasized, however, that it was of utmost importance to keep track of the events occurring in the energy sector.
"The most important question is what will happen in the energy sector. What was done in the summer was just to patch up the situation. There is dialogue indeed, but the decisions are half-hearted. The pricing model, which shifted all obligations and payments to the National Electric Company (NEK), spells no good. If it sends shockwaves through the entire energy system, the economy has no chance of remaining stable," Dimitrov stated.
The CITUB President said he expected tensions in the spheres of coal mining, thermal power generation, and the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) company.
He said that the CITUB would consult its members about a strike in healthcare.
He suggested that all possible activities had to be consolidated and coordinated in order to achieve success.
Dimitrov informed that the two biggest trade unions, the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) and the Podkrepa Labor Confederation, would hold talks at the end of next week to analyze the existing tensions and decide on future activities.
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