Ukrainian prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko, first deputy prime minister Vasyl Durdinets, and other government officials concluded yesterday in Donetsk an agreement with the Coal Industry Workers’ Union and the Independent Donbass Miners’ Union to end the massive strike in the industry. The government guarantees to pay by September 15 all overdue wages, beginning with the full payment of June wages by July 20. The government further pledges timely payment of wages in the future. The unions, for their part, pledge to ensure the immediate resumption of work in the mines and cooperation with the government’s plans to reform the industry. The settlement seems threatened by a radical Donetsk Strike Committee which claims that its constituent groups did not empower the unions to negotiate on their behalf and intend to continue the strike. (Interfax-Ukraine, July 16)
The strike, underway since July 3, is intended to force the government to pay an estimated $500 million worth of overdue wages. Striking workers have added to the economic damage by blocking highway and rail traffic around the strike-bound mining centers in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Some 45 mines ceased operations at the strike’s peak. The parliament last week voted as an emergency measure to use Western loans for paying the overdue wages.
Belarus President Honored at Elysee.