Public bus transport in Bulgaria’s second city of Plovdiv was set to return to normal after the municipality transferred funds to enable the payment of arrears salaries owed to employees of Angel Batakliev’s City Transport firm, bringing to an end a transport workers’ strike, but the municipality also sent a letter to the firm notifying it that its trolley bus contract was being terminated because of breach of contract.
A letter was sent by the municipality to Batakliev on the morning of September 26 giving three days’ notice of the termination of the trolley bus contract, local media said.
The cutoff of the subsidies and other compensation paid to the firm for the trolley bus service would cut the income of Batakliev’s firm by about 20 per cent, should the termination of the contract take effect, reports said.
September 24 and 25 saw a public transport strike in Plovdiv by employees whose salaries had not been paid in full for about a year and a half.
Deputy mayor Alexander Durzhikov, in charge of transport, said that he had spoken with Batakliev who had assured him that by noon on September 26, full service of the trolley bus lines would be restored.
It was expected that arrears salaries would be paid in cash on September 26 after the municipality transferred 150 000 leva.
Durzhikov was quoted as saying that if an investor could be found to ensure the continuation of the trolley bus service, “we are open to negotiations”. Batakliev had told him that negotiations with a large company on the issue were close to finalisation, he said.
The municipality had warned at the end of August that it intended terminating the trolley bus contract because since the beginning of 2012, only about a quarter of the trolley buses were serving their routes. The municipality’s 2004 contract with the firm specifies that the contract may be revoked unilaterally if less than 75 per cent of the trolley buses are running.