Mining unions reject government's draft social contract

On Wednesday, Polish mining unions rejected a draft social contract proposed by the government on the transformation of their industry, and announced they would come up with their own proposal by next Friday.

At the same time, they maintained their determination to reach an agreement by mid-February.

"I think we are on the right track to reach an agreement," said the Deputy State Assets Minister Artur Soboń, when asked about the possibility of signing a social contract in February. According to trade unions, mid-February is still seen as a realistic date for the conclusion of talks.

As a result of a wave of underground strikes which took place in numerous facilities in the Upper Silesia region in September, protesting miners signed an agreement with the government over the terms and pace of transformation of the Polish mining industry.

According to the agreement, the last coal mine will be shut down in 2049. Up until that time, mines will be subsidised by the state.

However, the preliminary draft proposal presented by the Ministry of State Assets in mid-December, which defined the scope of activities of individual mines and subsidy mechanisms until 2049, did not meet with acceptance of the unions.