Ukraine: Pay miners owed wages immediately or step down!

An Open Letter by the Ukrainian Independent Trade Union «Labor Protection» to Ukrainian president Volodymir Zelensky, Acting Minister of Energy Yuri Boyko, the media and all citizens who not indifferent about the situation related to the State´s catastrophic debt with Ukrainian mining working in public companies.

Dear Sirs,

At the moment, we do not intend to find out who is to blame for the situation that has arisen in the public enterprises of the coal industry regarding a long backlog in the payment of the wages of Ukrainian miners. We are fully aware that the blame for this falls on the system that has taken shape in our country during the last decades, which results in a humiliating attitude of officials towards the miners and towards their work. The current governmental policy does everything possible and impossible to completely destroy coal mining by the Ukrainian state, increase its cost, replace Ukrainian domestic coal with Polish or Russian coal in the domestic market. We know very well in whose benefit this policy is implemented. But the Ukrainian miners have yet to say their final word.

To date, the official debt owed to employees of state-owned coal companies has reached 1.89 billion hryvnia. A catastrophic situation is also observed in those companies where miners’ trade unions such as the VNPS “Labor Protection”, the Public Company “Volynvuhilla” and the Public Company “Selidivvuhilla” have been formed and operate to protect Ukrainian miners. In particular, the debt owed to the miners of the “Selidivvuhilla” PE already reaches 301 million hryvnia, while owed wages at the “Volynvuhilla” PE already reach 92,400,000 hryvnia.

The miners of our union have long been outraged by the ineffective management and use of funds for the repair and modernization of mining equipment, as well as the theft of funds from public companies. Despite numerous promises from the authorities, the institution of the mining industry “supervisors” was never liquidated. The faces of the public heads of the coal industry change, while the work of the miners is increasingly ignored by the State itself. Even recent promises by government officials to settle the debt with miners have turned out to be nothing more than a lie motivated by the desire to stop our justified protest actions at all costs.

The miners’ families are limited in everything. There is not even money for a decent meal for the miners’ wives and children. Many months of delay in the payment of wages physically destroy us, destroy our forces, our capacity for coal production and our ability to resist the anti-people and anti-mining policies of our government.

OUR DEMANDS are simple and understandable TO ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL:

– Immediately pay all back wages to the miners.

– Under no circumstances should the mines and coal mining companies of the EE “Selidivvuhilla” and EE “Volynvuhilla” be closed.

– Pull all kinds of “supervisors” out of the mines at once.

– End the uncontrolled theft of money from miners by officials and administrators.

– Prevent the dismissals of miners due to obvious defects in the management of the industry and in the cadre policy of the corresponding Ministry.

– Prevent the disconnection of mining companies from the electricity supply.

– Provide government funding for the development of public coal companies in the Donbass and Volyn regions.

– Ensure direct control by mining unions over public funds earmarked for the Ukrainian coal industry.

– No resolution related to cadres or finances in the mining industry without the approval of all mining unions!


President of the Trade Union Committee of the «Labor Protection» Trade Union Organization in «Selidivvuhilla»

Stanislav I. Rozhkov

President of the Base Trade Union Organization of the Ukrainian Independent Trade Union “Labor Protection” in the autonomous subdivision of the “Buzhanska” Mine of the public company “Volynvuhilla”

Viktor A. Smarsh

President of the Ukrainian Independent Trade Union “Labor Protection”

Oleg I. Vernik