Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 25

In the absence of an agreement with the Ukrainian government, coal miners’ unions in Donetsk and Luhansk vowed over the weekend to remain off the job until their demands for back wages and continued state subsidies for the coal industry were met. Reports on the number of mines at full or partial standstill were contradictory, with government officials maintaining yesterday that only 39 pits were completely shut down. Spokesmen at strike headquarters in Donetsk conceded that the action had dwindled since it began February 1, but accused the government of concealing the scale of the strike. Although some promises of money have been made, the miners have not yet been invited to negotiate with the government. (2) The strike could backfire on the miners, however, given that IMF-backed plans to close some unprofitable pits are already underway and a prolonged strike could bankrupt others. Coal imports from Poland and Russia, moreover, are already a reality in Ukraine. Unlike Russia, there are no important elections on the horizon and Ukraine’s leaders may simply choose to ride out storm.

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