Trade Unions Ready to Organize Strike over Funding Shortage at Bulgaria’s Maritsa Iztok Mines
Trade unions of mine workers have warned they are ready to organize a strike over the lack of funding to ensure the normal functioning of the state-owned Maritsa Iztok Mines, according to Vladimir Topalov, Chair of the miners’ federation at the Podkrepa Labor Confederation.
The three thermal power plants in the Maritsa basin owe the Maritsa Iztok Mines around BGN 330 M, according to reports of the Bulgarian National Radio.
Trade unions have sent a declaration to Bulgaria’s Parliament, the government, the Energy Ministry and the Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (KEVR) in which they oppose the planned power price hike, saying that it will lead to an increase in their production costs.
Valentin Valchev, Chair of the miners’ federation at the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria, noted that the planned increase in the public service obligation fee from BGN 18 to BGN 41 would lead to an increase in the price per ton of conditional fuel by BGN 2 and to losses amounting to BGN 13 M for the Maritsa Iztok Mines.
The CEO of the state-owned coal mining company, Andon Andonov, said that he had not been informed by the trade unions about preparations for a strike.
He refused to disclose details about the financial condition of the company on the grounds that it could obstruct the provision of a bank guarantee for a loan of the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH).
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