Dr. Trenchev: Taxi Protest Sign of Growing Tension
Updated on: 13.02.2007, 14:15
Published on: 12.02.2007, 13:09
After the end of the seventh congress of the Podkrepa Labour Confederation, Dr. Konstantin Trenchev talked with news.bg reporter Nikolay Bozhkov. Dr. Trenchev commented on the recent protests in Sofia and how the confederation feels about the increasing number of people who decide to take to the streets and fight for their rights.
Dr. Trenchev, will Podkrepa support the protest on February 14?
We haven't discussed this yet. You know very well that we are monitoring the situation in the the health care system and so far we have reacted whenever there was conflict. Until recently, there was no legislation providing for the payments in the health care sector. Of course, the government is responsible for the situation, the health ministry in particular, and the national health care insurance system. The Bulgarian Socialist Party also contributed to the collapse of the health care system.
The Docrtor's Federation, also part of Podkrepa, will issue a statement after they go through all the details of the case.
Pensioners will again protest on February 14 together with those dissatisfied with the new taxes on rakia (home-made brandy).
What do you make of their protest?
We support the pensioners and we have issued a declaration in which we demand that there are no people with very low pensions and people with very high pensions. We have provided equipment on several occasions so that the pensioners could state their protests properly.
We will meet with the pensioners on Monday, and we will discuss what Podkrepa could possibly do to help them. Let's not forget that these people built the country we live in now.
As far as rakia is concerned, I am convinced this is the fault of the people who negotiated with the EU and agreed to its terms.
We are sick and tired of politicians who can't do their job properly.
Although you issued a declaration condemning the murder of the taxi driver, you did not organize the protest. Why?
The protest on Friday showed the pressure in our society and how fragile everything really is. Any incident has the potential to release this pressure that has been building up over the last couple of years.
It became clear though, that the protesters themselves lacked organization and couldn't agree on their demands.
I've been to many other European cities and I can tell you the situation there is very different. In Britain, passengers are separated from the driver and there is no chance the driver could be stabbed in the neck while driving.
I think we should follow their example and separate passengers from drivers in our taxi cabs.
The taxi drivers don't have a syndicate of their own, have you thought about creating one?
The spontaneous protest took everyone by surprise. We didn't organise although there were representatives from Podkrepa on the square. Unfortunately, taxi drivers are not well-organized, bickering have started among them already. They can't agree on exactly what their demands should be so that the government could take the necessary action.
The terrible murder acted as a catalyzer, but taxi drivers lack the type of organization that we have. They threatened to block the city once again. I can't comment on that until I've seen their demands.
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