Management at the Ukrainian mining company Kryvyi Rih Iron-Ore Combine (KZRK) has agreed to increase wages by 50 per cent. According to IndustriALL affiliate Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine (NPGU), 440 miners have stopped the underground protest and come back up to continue negotiations.
Protesters in KZRK's four mines ended their underground protest and came up from the pit in the afternoon on 5 May.
A group representing workers, including the union NPGU has launched negotiations with management.
Yuri Samoilov, chair of the Kryvyi Rih branch of the NPGU was not admitted to negotiations as worker representative. However, management agreed to see him as a consultant. Nevertheless, the union says negotiations are held in a constructive way, with all suggestions and comments recorded in a protocol.
There are two main issues on the agenda. The first one is to prevent retaliation from management. The second one is to increase wages as soon as possible by at least 50 per cent. Management are proposing a 20 per cent increase for now, with an additional 30 per cent raise on Miner's Day on 27 August.
Ten employees of the mine Artem-1, owned by ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih have expressed solidarity support with the KZRK miners. On 6 May, they also launched an underground protest, demanding better pay. Management responded quickly, promising to resolve the issue by 11 May and the miners rose safely to the surface.
Mychailo Volynets, chair of the NPGU says:
“Management often cracks down on activists after successful negotiations. It is essential to clearly state in the final protocol between the workers and the employer that management will not put any pressure on miners or trade union activists."