A strike by employees of Plovdiv’s City Transport company over unpaid salaries several months in arrears entered its second day on September 25 2012, leaving Bulgaria’s second city with less than a third of buses running.
Employees have not received their full salaries for a year and a half and have been paid only about 60 per cent of their salaries, the most recent payment reportedly being on September 24, for the month of June.
The company’s manager, Angel Batakliev, said that ticket sales, subsidies and other earnings had been too low to enable the payment of full salaries. The company had a deficit of about 200 000 to 300 000 leva (about 100 000 to 150 000 euro) a month, he said.
Local media said that on the first day of the strike, all 60 public transport buses did not operate, and Batakliev gave employees an ultimatum to return to work on September 25 or face dismissal.
Some employees wrote resignation letters but management had not accepted these and wanted written explanations why these employees were not at work, reports said.
Drivers are paid about 600 leva a month and ticket collectors about 290 leva a month.
The local structure of trade union federation Podkrepa said that the protest was continuing and would continue until employees were guaranteed payment of outstanding salaries.
Should the company not restore service, it could be at risk of the municipality terminating its contract. At the same time, the company also reportedly could face a cutoff of electricity supply to its trolley buses because of unpaid debts.
According to local media, some Plovdiv residents had queued at bus stops in the city, uncertain of whether there would be public transport to take them to work.
(Photo: John Nyberg)