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Ukrainian coal miners demand industry support

18 March, 2016Around 500 coal miners from all over Ukraine gathered in Kiev on 17 March and picketed the parliament building demanding it adopt two draft laws to settle some pressing socio-economical issues of the Ukrainian coal mining industry. 

The picket of the Verkhovna Rada building was organized by the Coal Mining Workers’ Union of Ukraine, IndustriALL Global Union affiliate.

During the picket, the local union chairmen spoke about the industry problems in their regions. Wage arrears, delays of the payments to the social insurance fund and pension fund, cut social guarantees, lack of funding for enterprise modernization, and non-shipment of coal are just some of the issues.

Two draft laws important for the coal mining industry were on the parliament session draft agenda for 17 March. The first draft law, proposed by the Coal Mining Workers’ Union of Ukraine, proposes to amend the state budget 2016 and to allocate state funding for state coal mining enterprises to the amount of 250 million hryvnia, an equivalent of US$9.3 million. The draft law also proposes allocating 100 million hryvnia (US$3.7 million) for the construction of the Novovolynskata Mine №10. 

The second draft law proposes amending the mining law of Ukraine regarding social guarantees of the coal miners and to provide a 50 per cent discount for the gas, electricity and heating payments, limited by the average consumption rate, for those coal mining industry workers who are entitled to get the domestic coal free of charge. 

Although, the parliament did not consider both draft laws that day, the union members met with the parliamentarians and the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman. Another meeting between the Coal Mining Workers’ Union of Ukraine, the Energy and Coal Industry Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn and the Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko is scheduled for 22 March and hopefully will lead to a compromise solution.