Social contract for the mining industry initialled

On Wednesday, trade unions and government representatives initiated a social contract which assumed the closure of steam coal mines by 2049, public aid for the coal sector in this period and social protection for miners. The agreement also includes mechanisms to support and transform the Silesia region in southern Poland.

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The final signing of the agreement is to take place in the coming weeks, when the text will be formally approved by the statutory bodies of individual trade unions participating in the negotiations. At the same time, the Ministry of State Assets and the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) intend to work on a pre-notification application to the European Commission.

Pre-notification is a type of procedure in matters related to state aid. It is carried out between an EU Member State and the EC and should not last longer than two months.

The social contract states that the miners currently employed are to receive statutory job guarantees until retirement or social security, pre-retirement leaves (payable in the amount of 80 percent of remuneration) and 120,000 severance pays. The state budget is to subsidise the reduction of production capacity in mines, which will be gradually closed by the end of 2049. The schedule for their decommissioning is part of the agreement. The amount of pay rises in mines for the next four years has also been negotiated.

The social contract also provides a total of over PLN 16 bn (EUR 3.5 bn) investments in clean coal technologies and the establishment of a special Fund for the Transformation of Silesia with an initial capital of EUR 111 mln and guarantees for EUR 222 mln.