The Ukrainian miners are currently in a major struggle against pit closures with a possible loss of 50,000 jobs!
On April 28th Over 1,500 miners picketed the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Among them – the members of the Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine (NPGU) which is part of the Confederation of Free Trade Union (KVPU). Their main demands were for the government: to provide in the budget for 2015 secure financing of the coal and peat mining companies to the extent necessary for their further development and current activities; funding for health and safety of miners, payment of wages on time and of all wages owed to miners.
According to the miners who came to the protest the situation in the coal industry is grave, the majority of mines are now in territory occupied in Donbas by pro-Russia forces. There is now extreme difficulty in the supply of coal in Ukraine. Miners complained that whilst there is coal in warehouses of the mining and coal associations in Donbass and Lvov-Volyn basin, located in free areas of Ukraine. But the authorities have decided to buy expensive coal from South Africa.
Now instead, of investing in Ukraine’s mines the government will allocate 1.2 billion to close mines. Miners stated that they are against such a policy: they want to work and protect the energy independence of Ukraine.
Head of NGPU Mikhail Volynets said in his speech that the coal industry is the foundation for the entire industry of the country. He condemned the government for allocating no money for the protection of labour, capital construction and instead 1.2 billion – for the closure of mines. Instead of the government talking about cuts, it should be talking about job creation.
Vice- Chairman of NGPU Anatoly Akimochkin said that by destroying the coal industry it would mean destroying the entire country’s energy security; he said that this was a “genocide being carried out in the coal industry.”The chairman of the Independent Trade Union of Donbass miners Mykola Volynko said that he had only recently arrived from the front and reminded the Cabinet – “There’s a lot of our miners are fighting for the independence and freedom of Ukraine”.
Miners warned that the government is playing with fire.
Above: Miners at the JSC “Lviv Coal Plant” have not been paid for six months!
The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign welcomes the invitation from KVPU and NGPU to trade unions in the UK to send a fact-finding mission to Ukraine. We hope that the delegation will finalised as soon as possible and will be able to visit our brothers and sister to provide necessary international solidarity at this crucial moment.