Save Coal – Save Ukraine: Report of the All-Ukraine Miners Congress

Published below is a full of the recent joint union All-Ukraine Congress of Mineworkers held in Kyiv, and attended by a solidarity delegation of the National Union of Mineworkers.  Thank you to Viktor Sumchenko of PRUP for this report which reprinted from the website of the National Union of Mineworkers.

Save Coal – Save Ukraine

On 21 April 2015, the III Congress of Mineworkers of Ukraine was held at the International Center of Culture and Arts in Kiev. 800 delegates representing their collieries attended that event. The key attention of that Forum was paid to the issue if mining industry is needed to Ukraine, and the participants applied to the country leaders to solve mine-workers’ problems.

Miners on Maidan

Mineworkers protest on the Maidan in Kyiv

The Union of Mineworkers of Ukraine (PRUP )   along with the Independent Union of Mineworkers ( NGPU ) initiated to get the Congress held.

Mr. Demchishyn, the Minister of energy and mining industry of Ukraine, Maksim Tymchenko, DTEK Director General, Greg Osovoy, the Chairman of Unions Federation of Ukraine, people’s deputies, general directors of collieries, Mayors of mining towns attended the Congress.

The main demands were as follows:  return state support to the mining sector, fix reasonable market coal price equivalent to the price at which coal is imported, accept the plan of mining and energy complex development as well as collieries with good coal reserves.

When opening the Congress Mr. Victor Turmanov, the Chairman of Unions of Mineworkers of Ukraine emphasized that all governmental coal mining strategy was based on the minimization of current budgetary expenditures. Thus programs of mining companies for current year were made up on the basis of unrealistic features and which had not been studied at sites. Funding imbalance practically touched all mining companies of the sector. A lot of mines are on the verge of complete stop due to the lack of required materials and means to ensure technological coal production process. As a result mineworkers are sent to their forced vocations.

Victor Turmanov mentioned that the exclusion of supporting program with partial reimbursement of costs at the prime cost of final products from the Budget resulted in wage debts growth and actual elimination of active mining companies.  Negative tendencies in the work of non-state owned companies increased which have difficulties because of undersize level of rates for power producing from the Ukrainian coal. Coal reserves at Thermal Power Plants have reached a critical level. Only favourable weather conditions of last winter allowed preventing from energy catastrophe of the national scale.

All speeches were devoted to problems of collieries staffs.

Mr. Demchishyn, the Minister of energy and mining industry of Ukraine also addressed to the meeting and stated about his vision and prospects of mining industry and fuel-energy complex as well. He tried to convince mineworkers that all wage debts would be liquidated soon. However the disturbed mineworkers who had not get their wages for a long time hissed him off crying “Shame on you” and requesting him to resign.

III Congress of Ukraine approved a number of requirements and demands to the Cabinet of Ministers, Ministry of energy and mining industry of Ukraine, managers of companies with different forms of properties. Mineworkers are requesting the Government to develop fuel-energetic balance of the country and specify the required volume of coal production, the coal supplying resources as well as its price, adjust crisis situation at the mining sector and ensure stable work for the mining industry and entire complex.  It’s also needed to make changes in the state budget making provisions for the state support program, construction of new mining companies, and their technical upgrade along with rescue measures, and assure the implementation of the Law of Ukraine “On the increase of mineworker occupational prestige”.

The Congress delegates requested from the Ministry of energy and mining industry of Ukraine as follows:

– Suspend activities of mines provided that their complete mining reserves with obligatory funding during the physical elimination of collieries.

– Provide the complete loading of Thermal Power Plants with coal of a gas group, analyse possibilities to transfer Power Plants from natural gas to the coal of grade A/T.

– Determine mechanisms of timely wage payment and debts liquidation.

– Agree and concur regulations and procedures regarding labor and social rights with Unions.

All managers of mining companies are requested to provide complete payment of wages in accordance with labor legislation and Collective Agreements. Not to allow reducing of social programs.

All adopted by Congress documents will be submitted to the President and Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada and Ministry of energy and mining industry of Ukraine.

28.04.2015

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