Ukraine: Miners continuing struggle against wage arrears

On December 16, miners and their trade unions from state-owned mining enterprises from Lviv, Volyn, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions protested the whole day in Kyiv. The Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine informed that miners held demonstrations near, the Verkhovna Rada and the Office of the President of Ukraine.
Last week, after miners’ protests in Lviv and Donetsk regions, UAH 335.8 million was allocated from the state budget for the payment of salaries to miners of coal mining enterprises. However, this didn’t reduce social tensions in miners’ collectives. As the NPGU explained the total amount of wage arrears amounted up to UAH 2.4 billion, and by the end of December could increase to UAH 3 billion.

The chairman of the NPGU Mykhailo Volynets, as a member of the Parliament of Ukraine, initiated the extraordinary plenary session on the situation at the state-owned coal mining enterprises and collected signatures of MPs to hold it on December 16. It was expected that the Parliament would adopt the draft law №5891-1 on allocation budget funds for paying wages to miners and for work of state enterprises.

During the protest actions, miners called members of the Parliament of Ukraine to vote for the amendments to the State Budget.
The miner from Chervonohrad Mr. Roman held a banner with slogans the slogan "Our children also want to eat." The miner says he has three children between the ages of two and thirteen. “My wife doesn’t work because she takes care of her youngest daughter. But even if she had the opportunity to work, it is not so easy to find a job now, - Mr. Roman complains. - I earn well at the mine and if I paid on time, my family would not be poor. But I don’t remember when I received my full salary timely. I constantly got money in installments – 6%-20% of the wage. Because of this, you often have nothing to buy, you have to take loans, and then you do not know how and what to repay them”

The chairman of the Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine Mykhailo Volynets and the chairman of the Trade Union of Coal Workers of Ukraine Andriy Zymin also spoke at the morning rally in front of the parliament. "This week is time for the last parliament session in 2021. The Parliament will return to plenary work after January 17, 2021. The miners and their families need money for living, and their children also want to receive New Year’s and Christmas presents. Therefore, the miners have no choice but to protest in Kyiv", -said Mykhailo Volynets, chairperson of the NPGU.

Then miners picketed the President’s Office, and then returned to the Verkhovna Rada again because the extraordinary session started. However, the majority voted for the draft law №5891-1 only in the first reading. The miners greeted the message with shouts of "Shame!"

“The parliament Budget committee made a decision that this draft must be adopted as a whole. But the majority disregarded this and adopted the draft only in the first reading. This means that the authorities do not care, how the miners and their families will celebrate the New Year and Christmas holidays. Because the people’s deputies will return to work in the parliament only after January 22, and therefore the consideration and voting for the bill №5891-1 as a whole may not take place until the end of January!” – explained Mykhailo Volynets.

Therefore, the Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine continues the struggle against wage arrears in the mining industry.
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