Miners strike escalating, stalemate in talks with gov’t

New miners are joining their protesting fellow workers from the Polish Mining Group PGG in an underground strike as talks between the unionists and government representatives are underway.

According to the press office of the Silesian branch of the Solidarity trade union, the Halemba mine - one of the facilities where the strike started, is the place where the largest protest is taking place. Smaller groups are protesting in a few other mines, while more workers are due to join them on Thursday.

"The protest has a rotational character, which means that those who stay underground after their shift are over, replace the protesting colleagues from earlier shifts. Some participants decide to stay underground for a longer time,” Solidarity stated.

In addition to the underground protest, miners are to march along the streets of Ruda Śląska on Friday. Representatives of other industries, vulnerable to the potential effect of the EU's climate and energy policy have announced their participation in the demonstration as well.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee resumed talks with the government delegation on the future of the mining and energy sector. After Tuesday’s negotiations, the Silesian Solidarity head Dominik Kolorz stated that there had been more discrepancies than common points and that “the devil is in the detail”.

Among the provisions that the unionists want to be included in the agreement with the government are those on long-term activities regarding the reconstruction of Silesia, mining and energy until 2060, as well as provisions on specific current matters, such as the commissioning of coal from PGG by the energy sector, payments for coal and the scale of energy demand for coal over forthcoming years.

According to the unions, the energy transformation of Silesia should take place over a longer timescale. In their opinion, the implementation of the policy the way it is would mean the closure of hard coal mines by 2036-37, which would have disastrous social and economic consequences.