The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign is pleased to report that the National Union of Mineworkers has undertaken two visits to Ukraine, meeting with sister mining unions and labour movement activists. Published here is a report by the Trade Union of Mineworkers of Ukraine  in Western Donbas on part of the first visit to Ukraine.

Mick Antoniw in Dnipropetrovsk

Colleagues from the UK met with West Donbas Union Leaders

On 28 March 2015 a meeting of Dnepropetrovsk Territorial Union Leaders was held with their colleagues from the UK who came to Ukraine.

The meeting was attended with Sergey Yunak, PRUP (Trade Union of Mineworkers of Ukraine)  President, Vitaliy Dubil, Chairman of Dnepropetrovsk Union Council, Artur Martovitskiy, people’s deputy, chairmen of the following primary collieries union: Heroes of the Space – Peter Nebogatykh, «Blagodatnaya» – Alexander Bereza, «Pavlogradskaya» – Alexander Nosan, Logistics management department – Alexander Ulinets, Oleg Petrivnyk – Unions specialist.

On the UK side – Mick Antoniw, member of the special Commission of EC in Ukraine, member of the National Assembley of Wales and Wayne Thomas, NUM Vice President of the UK, member of the Trust Company on the coalfield regeneration.

As Sergey Yunak mentioned, during the meeting with our colleagues from the UK the issue about situation in the Energy and Mining sectors of Ukraine particularly at West Donbas collieries was raised. Union leaders of both countries discussed problems of mining industry of Ukraine, reasons resulted in the reduction coal production the main of which is war operations in Donbas. The basic enterprises/companies producing anthracite coals are located at the uncontrollable territory of Ukraine. The next reason is associated with the suspension of funding to the State Companies where costs exceed the coal price.

Sergey Yunak let the UK colleagues know about Union of Mineworkers actions directed to the maintenance of the independence of Ukraine where West Donbas is the last line of defence. Mr. Yunak also told about picketing of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine performed by mineworkers requesting to the payment of their wages, resume budgetary funding to the mining sector, return debts for power consumed and social guarantees for the mineworkers.  Mr. Yunak also mentioned that DTEK management had informed PJSC “DTEK PavlogradCoal” that employee’s salary would not be paid in the entire amount owed and everybody doubted if with social security’s payments included into the Collective Agreement.

Therefore, the following decision was made to hold the Congress of Mineworkers of Ukraine on 21 April 2015:

– Invite our colleague Wayne Thomas, Vice-President of NUM, to attend our Congress, said Mr. Yunak giving an interview to the newspaper “A Voice of a Mineworker”. Wayne mentioned that as soon as the Congress program and date were available they would determine their delegation to come and support Ukrainian mineworkers to hold out in the struggle for power independence of Ukraine.

Mr. Vitaliy Dubil told about the situation in Dnepropetrovsk region and social and economic stabilization measures made in the region at the expenses of incomes of working people. Last year it gave positive results. In 2015 we have sent letters to more than 80 managers of enterprises of our region regarding growth of the employee incomes. It gives positive results on the level of regional trilateral social and economic council, authorities, unions and employers. During the regular consultations and negotiations we manage to solve vital problems of employees and companies.

“For all that and taking into consideration at present that Dnepropetrovsk region is a front-line area we are applying to all social partners how it is extremely important to make efforts to ensure safety and maintenance of social assurance to the employees and all population of Dnepropetrovsk region” – said V. Dubil.

Mr. Artur Martovitkiy, people’s deputy, a member of Fuel and Energy Committee of Ukraine, mentioned that “our mineworkers want to understand how much coal is required for the power independence of Ukraine, and at which price it can be sold and bought? In order to solve those issues it is needed to update and adjust the rate policy. And that issue should be carried out by the National Committee for Regulation Energy and Utilities services (NCREU). He added that currently we’ve got the Coal Grade “G” (about 4 – 4.5 mln MT) surplus which “could be exported and we could make currency”.

The above information was documented and it would be submitted to the UC Commission, the UK Parliament and the UK Trade Union Congress.

– It is important for the NUM Leaders to participate in the Congress of Mineworkers of Ukraine as in May 2015 the UK Parliament elections would be held, – said Sergey Yunak. And our Welsh friends will be able to get much additional information during holding of the Congress of Mineworkers of Ukraine which could be used at the UK Parliament regarding the real events that have occurred in Ukraine, since there are some people in the Parliament supporting actions of Russia in Ukraine. They also misrepresent all events happening in Ukraine.

That was a fruitful meeting at easy, friendly, unofficial atmosphere which results in positive outputs.

Dnepropetrovsk Territorial Union of Mineworkers of Ukraine (PRUP) invited the NUM delegation to visit West Donbas in September-October this year.