The 1,000 miners from Pavlohrad–cutting edge of the coal strike in Ukraine–decided yesterday to stop picketing the presidential administration and government buildings in Kyiv. The protest leaders and the government signed a protocol stipulating government compliance in three areas. First, government adherence to the parliament’s resolution to allocate 600 million hryvnyas (nearly US$300 million) in state subsidies to the mining sector. Second, immediate disbursement of wages owed to Pavlohrad miners for the first six months of 1998. And, third, granting of credits to the Pavlohrad mining enterprise to pay the 1997 wage arrears, provided that the enterprise resumes coal deliveries to the state.
Senior government officials, meanwhile, continued negotiations with union leaders, who now seem inclined toward compromise. The more radical Independent Union of Miners, which launched the strike on May 4, sees its support eroding. As of June 15, twenty-four mines were reported on strike, down from forty-five (out of the country’s 270 mines). Nevertheless the situation is far from having been defused. The government risks compromising its reform program if it buys a settlement at the cost of subsidies from the state budget. (UNIAN, June 15 and 16; Eastern Economist Daily, June 16 and 17).
UKRAINIAN-MOLDOVAN MILITARY EXERCISE UNDERWAY.