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10 percent of Greek businesses in Bulgaria in danger of bankruptcy

22 March 2010 / 16:03:09  GRReporter
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About 10 percent of Greek companies operating in Bulgaria are in danger of bankruptcy and the greatest risk is for garment factories in border areas. This became clear after the meeting between Minister of Employment and Social Policy Totyu Mladenov with representatives of the Athens Chamber of Commerce. Currently operating in Bulgaria are nearly 700 Greek companies, which employ over 17 thousand people.

Six enterprises have already closed their production without paying the statutory benefits to Bulgarian workers. The Athens Chamber of Commerce and the Greek Ministry of Employment and Social Policy have promised full support for 5 of these companies. These are Iponema and Bultex in Blagoevgrad, Marvel in Sandanski, European and Dupnitsa Textile.

The owner of a clothing firm Marvel Atanasious Saridous is in hiding from November 13. Then he left Sandanski, without declaring bankruptcy, and locked in his office remained all documents and work licenses of nearly 250 workers, most of whom are young mothers with children. Workers cannot even register as unemployed because they don’t have any documents.

The Greek owners of garment factory Dupnitsa Textiles Teoharis Kanelis and Dimosthenis Yantsikouris did not serve notice of mass layoffs in the Labor Bureau. Workers went to register themselves. Because of them it became clear that 120 seamstresses were laid off. In reality the factory is closed, the Directorate though was not notified by the employer.

For the sixth company Bulfanko in Kardjali, nothing can be done because it has abolished its business in Greece as well. 150 seamstresses have not been paid since September, from January 2009 they have not received meal vouchers and in October their old collective contract had ended. Until now their attempts to find a solution with the representative of the Greek owners Haralambos Pekyaridis have failed.

Representatives of the Athens Chamber of Commerce have assured the Bulgarian Minister of Labor and Social Policy Totyu Mladenov, that the Greek business continues to believe Bulgaria is the most appropriate place for investments in Southeastern Europe and is ready to make new investments in the industrial, medical and social services and Agricultural areas in Bulgaria, which has the highest unemployment. In 20 days the chamber will present a detailed study of what kind of manpower will be needed for these investments so that the Bulgarian government can train the necessary manpower. Financing of retraining the unemployed will come from the European Social Fund.

After the meeting between Minister Totyu Mladenov and his Greek counterpart Andreas Loverdos it became clear that based on data by the Greek police, the country employs around 30 thousand Bulgarians. Both departments, however, believe the actual number varies between 130 and 150 thousand. The difference of the rest 100-120 thousand Bulgarians comes from the fact that Greek employers do not pay their contributions in the Greek national insurance fund. Therefore, the two ministers decided start a more active cooperation between labor inspections in Bulgaria and Greece.

Totyu Mladenov invited Andreas Loverdos to visit Bulgaria. The visit will take place during the summer and then the letter of intent for cooperation between the two departments will officially be signed.

Tags: bankruptcy Greece Bulgaria companies
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