Bobov Dol, a small mining town in western Bulgaria, is in the news again. And news from Bobov Dol is never good, it seems. This time, approximately 130 miners started an underground strike. According to Bulgarian media reports, the management of the mining complex announced layoffs of a total of 700 miners, since the Babino mine was not efficient and too expensive to run.
The workers on strike want to make the mine owners re-inspect the coal reserves and continue production, according to a union official.
Western Bulgaria is an extremely poor region. Apart from the mines around Bobov Dol, there are hardly any employers.
The drama unfolding down there is not the first one. Some two years ago, Nova TV reported about some of the meanest exploitation ever heard of. Back then, salaries for hundreds of poor miners were supposedly paid late, which was only one of several issues. The payments were partially made in vouchers, according to those reports back then. The vouchers were only accepted at a local supermarket owned by the mining company. And, on top of it all, the shelves in that supermarket were empty. Nova TV showed wives of miners crying in the aisles of that store, in front of those empty shelves.
There have also been fatal accidents in Bobov Dol.
The coal extracted from the mines feeds the Bobov Dol Power Plant, with an output of 630 MW.
Update, October 12th: The strike in Bobov Dol continued into its second day. The Miners say, they have hardly been paid since August. Due to the gravity of the situation, even conventional Bulgarian media, most of which usually do not care much about the plight of anyone, cover the story.
(Photo: John Nyberg/sxc.hu)