Miners in Obrochishte: More protests and hunger strike announced

Written by on March 22, 2017 in Business - Comments Off on Miners in Obrochishte: More protests and hunger strike announced

At a manganese mine near the eastern Bulgarian town of Obrochishte, miners announced, they would extend their protests, which started last week. About 120 workers at the mine, owned by Euromangan AD, went on strike recently, in order to fight for their wages. Now they intend to go on a hunger strike inside the mine.

The protests started due to delayed salaries. Also the miners demand an increase of their wages by 30%. It would be the first increase in 10 years, they say. In addition, they want food vouchers every month, a shuttle bus to the mine and more days of leave.

So far, the owners of the mine have rejected all demands. As a result, the president of the union “Protection” told Bulgarian national Television, the miners planned to enter the mine today, in order to start a hunger strike. This way, they intended to increase the pressure on their employer.

According to experts, the mine the protesters want to enter today is in danger of collapsing. Todorov stated, the Labour Inspectorate in charge had come to that conclusion during a check of the labour conditions down there. This was a risk the miners were willing to take, while fighting for their rights.

Miners in Bulgaria stage protests on a regular basis, since low wages, late payments, bad working conditions and other forms of exploitation are wide spread.

The manganese mine in Obrochishte used to be owned by communist Bulgaria. It was privatised in 1997. The ore seam the miners are working in is more than 300 meters below the ground. A processing plant is located on the premises of the mine.

Photo by BNT2

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Imanuel Marcus, the founder of foreignersandfriends.com, is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe.