Miners at Managanese Mine End Hunger Strike as Collective Agreement
The signing of a collective agreement Wednesday ended a conflict between the miners at the Obrochishte manganese mine in Northeastern Bulgaria and the mine's owner, announced BNR.
The signing of the agreement was announced by Natinal Ombudsman Maya Manolova who has been actively involved in the efforts to resolve a dispute between the miners and their employer.
The miners have been in a cycle of strikes and agreements with their owner for a month now over unpaid wages. They also demanded a pay rise and a new collective agreement to address their grievances.
According to Maya Manolova, the signing of a collective agreement puts the relations between the miners and their employer up a notch. "I hope I won't have to come to the mine a third time," she said referring to her previous two visits, first at the onset of the conflict and a second time when the employer broke his promise and failed to make due payments.
The protests at the mine started on March 9 over irregular payment of wages and food vouchers. The miners demanded a 30 per cent increase of salaries and urged the government to revisit a 25-year concession agreement signed for the mine with Euromangan in 1999. The miners went on a hunger strike on March 22, called it off two days later when an agreement was signed, went back to hunger strike on April 2 and called it off three days later as the collective agreement was signed.
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