Independent Miners Union Statement on Miners Struggle

There has been an growth of miners protests in Ukraine in response to the planned closure of state owned miners across and unpaid wages. Following the recent joint union congress of miners a number of reports appeared in the  media seeking to discredit the miners – in response the following statement has been issued by M. Volynets, Head of NGPU ( Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine) –  Translation provided to Ukraine Solidarity Campaign  by the  Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine.

Miners on Maidan

NPGU Statement on the Miners’ Protests

Historically, the miners’ movement has always been one of the preconditions for democratic changes in the Ukrainian society. Miners’ strikes in 1989-1990 became one of the impetuses to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Today, miners have to stand up for protection of the independent Ukraine – this time in energy sector.

Coal mining industry is in the state of crisis, it has been drawn in such a state by the erroneous decisions of the government and oligarchs, which contradict the national interests of Ukraine. One of such decisions is the closure of mines.

Consequences of such decisions are: a systematic increase of salary debts to miners, jobs’ cuttings and increased rates of unemployment in the country. No real efforts have been made to overcome corruption in the energy sector.

In the state of hybrid war, when the war is going on not only at military front-lines but at economic and information ones, Ukraine purchases coal and electricity from the occupant, thus supporting him – not the own industry. In so doing the coal is being purchased from Russia at much higher price than the price of Ukrainian coal.  According to the contract on energy supply to Crimea as a Russian entity, signed by Vladimir Demchishin, the Minister of Coal Industry and Energy, Ukraine buys electricity at a higher price from Russia and sells to Crimea at a lower price. The price difference is covered at Ukrainians through the increase of household bills’ costs.

It is quite obvious that certain political sources are interested in ruining the Ukrainian coal mining industry and leaving Ukraine dependent on the neighbour-aggressor for good.

That is why, today, the miners came to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada, President Administration and Ministry of Coal and Energy of Ukraine with demands to overcome corruption in coal mining industry, dismiss the Minister, who attempts to destroy the coal mining system, carry out reforms and save the energy sector of Ukraine.

Instead, the mass media shows repellent photos of protesters and write negative articles about “protests paid by Akhmetov”, trying to discredit the miners and thus changing the accents and distracting people’s attention from fuel and energy sector.

Independent Trade Union of Coal Miners of Ukraine is an organization that defends interests of miners and Ukrainian working people and works to improve and develop energy potential of the country. We have never cooperated and will never collaborate in favor of oligarchs, business or political powers.

Now the Ukrainian miners activated their efforts to protect the coal industry and obstruct corrupted forces to destroy the energy potential of Ukraine.

Mikhailo Volynets

Chairman

Independent Trade Union of Coal Miners of Ukraine

24 April 2015

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