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Hunger-strike postal workers plea to prime minister for help

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Hunger-strike postal workers plea to prime minister for help

Photo: Bulgarian National television/BTA

Employees of Bulgarian Posts, including people that have been on hunger strike, asked on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Boiko Borissov. The workers complain of low wages, poor working conditions and lack of working clothes. They also call for a comprehensive financial audit at the national postal service company for the last five years.

The protestors' demands were presented by Zlatka Mladenova, an employee and a trade union activist who is on hunger strike. She told a news conference that she was one of 13 workers who have chosen this extreme form of protest.

Mladenova has stayed without food since July 30 to protest her employer's failure to pay seniority bonuses and provide food vouchers. She admitted that after the General Labour Inspectorate intervened, the money was paid off, but she added that she can no longer trust promises and there are no guarantees that the situation will not repeat itself in the coming months.

Krassimir Mitov, President of the Protection Union in the postal sector, said the hunger strike is intended to press the workers' demands for freedom of association, higher incomes, better working conditions and provision of personal aids and work clothes. "We received oral guarantees which are distrusted by the employees," Mitov said. "We want someone to take responsibility and become a guarantor."

Recalling that National Ombudsman Maya Manolova has arranged for a meeting between the protestors and the Bulgarian Posts management, Mitov wondered why Transport, Information Technology and Communications Minister Ivailo Moskovski has stayed away. "We will refer the matter to the Prime Minister, or else you may see 1,300 people go hungry, not just 13," Mitov warned.

Zashtita Union Vice President Milena Atanassova noted that labour laws have been violated. She said: "Well-earned money has been denied to employees whose wages are low anyway."

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