Nearly 100,000 coal workers at thirty-nine mines refused to work again yesterday, the second day of a strike called by the Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine (NPHU). The participants demand: payment of wage and pension arrears, which are said to have increased in recent months; restoration of the 1990 levels of wages, pensions, and social benefits; priority financing of the coal industry from the state budget; and an end to coal purchases by Ukraine from other countries (Polish and other coal imports are often cheaper than coal produced in Ukraine’s Donbas).
NPHU chief Mikhaylo Volynets, a seasoned protest leader, yesterday described the current strike as the most serious since that in 1996, which engulfed Ukraine and caused substantial economic damages. The larger Union of Coal Industry Workers does not support the strike, arguing that it can not succeed and that its effects are counterproductive. (Ukrainian TV and agencies, May 5)
CIS DOCUMENT PERPETUATES DEADLOCK IN ABKHAZIA.