Bulgarian miners end underground strike

The men began exiting the mine in small groups late Thursday night after the management of the Babino mine, which is part of the larger Bobov dol mining complex, started paying their delayed salaries.

Bulgarian miners end underground strike

World Bulletin / News Desk

Over 100 workers at a brown coal mine in southwestern Bulgaria ended their strike late Thursday after spending more than 60 hours almost 500 metres underground, officials said Friday.

The payments continued throughout the night.

"Last night ended with optimism but the final solution for the fate of the mine and the hundreds of miners' families is still under question," Bulgarian ombudsman Maya Manolova told private bTV television Friday after spending more than 8 hours in the pits, negotiating the miners' exit.

Some 131 men had refused to leave the mine after their shift ended on Tuesday to demand their delayed salaries since August and food coupons for eight months and to press home demands for a review of the planned closure of the Babino mine.

Over a dozen workers were taken out by medical teams after feeling unwell.

As a result, the mine's tycoon owner Hristo Kovachki withdrew on Wednesday his request to the energy ministry to end the concession of the loss-making Babino mine that now employs 736 workers.

"It is important for the mine to stay open. Last night this was the miners' biggest fear -- if this morning they will still have their jobs," Manolova said on Friday.

The ombudsman was expected to hold talks with the miners and the management on the possibilities to prevent the closure.

It was however unclear who will take part after Babino's chief executive Krasimir Chavraganski tabled his resignation early Friday and it was accepted.

Coal production in Bulgaria in 2015 was 35.9 million tonnes, up 14.7 percent from 2014, according to energy ministry data, with the entire mining sector employing around 23,600 people.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Ekim 2016, 12:03