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Bulgaria’s Maritsa East Miners Go on Strike for Higher Pay

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Miners at Bulgaria’s Maritsa East mining region, which services coal-fired power plants run by AES Corp. and ContourGlobal LP., went on strike over demands for higher pay.

The strike at the state-owned mines began at 8 p.m. yesterday after the government rejected miners’ demands to raise their wages to reflect increased output, union leader Valentin Valchev said in an interview with state radio Horizont in Sofia today. The mines produced 30 million metric tons last year, a 60-year record, according to their website.

The Maritsa East mines produce 90 percent of Bulgaria’s coal and service three power plants, including the state-run Maritsa East-2, AES Galabovo AD and ContourGlobal Maritsa East-3, which produce 25 percent of the country’s electricity output, according to their website.

“There is no threat of power shortages,” Delian Dobrev, the deputy minister of Energy and Economy, told reporters in Sofia today. “We’ll reduce exports and increase output from other power plants.”

The Kozloduy nuclear power plant produces some 40 percent of Bulgaria’s electricity output.

The mines’ management considers the strike illegal and has filed a claim with the court in the southern city of Stara Zagora, Evegeni Staikov, executive director of the Maritsa East mines, told reporters in Sofia today. The strike will cause them losses of 3 million lev ($2 million) a day, he said.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Elizabeth Konstantinova at ekonstantino@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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