Bulgarian Railways, Syndicates Seal Last Contract
The collective bargaining agreement between the management of Passenger Services at the troubled State-owned Bulgarian Railways BDZ Holding and the syndicate will be signed Monday.
Late Friday, the BDZ management announced that they have reached an agreement with the syndicates on all clauses of the collective bargaining contract, something the syndicates also confirmed, which brought the prolonged strike of BDZ workers to an end.
The contract will be signed Monday at 1:30 pm, while before that work groups will reexamine the over 90 articles of the document to iron out any possible contradictions and misunderstandings.
The main outcome is that the two parties agreed to keep wages at BDZ at their current level until June 2012, and from then on – introduce a bonus system, based on job performance.
Paid leave has been scaled down to 20 days, from the previous 22. BDZ workers will receive 8 monthly salaries when going into retirement, instead of 9, as it was until now.
The strike lasted 23 days and began on November 24.
The labor unions staged the strike after the early November notice of the management of the heavily indebted state-owned railway company BDZ Holding that it intended to lay off 2 000 workers, and reduce the number of trains in operation by 150 (later scaled down to 138) by January 2012.
In addition, ticket prices along state-subsidized routes will be increased by 9% as of January 1, 2012, and those of "business trains", i.e. the handful of profitable railway routes in Bulgaria – by 15% as December 1, 2011.
Meanwhile, nearly 1 000 workers have agreed to leave on their own in exchange of 6 monthly salaries.
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