Ukrainian Miners Demand Pay Increase

Dear Readers:

I saw this piece in PolitNavigator, by reporter Mikhail Ryabov in Kiev.

Miners of iron ore who work for the Krivorog Kombinat have gone on strike, demanding a pay raise.  The five mines in question are located in a part of the Donbass controlled by the Ukrainian central government.

The entire night shift of the mines “Rodina”, “Gvardeiskaya”, “Ternovskaya”, and “Krivbas-shakhto” have gone on strike, along with 10 other miners from the “October” mine.  The miners refuse to emerge from the ground, protesting their low pay.  They demand that their wages be increased to the same level as in 2012, when President Viktor Yanukovych was still the head of the government.

Trade Union leader Mikhail Volynets

The head of the Independent Mine Workers Trade Union is a man named Mikhail Volynets.  Interestingly enough, Volynets is a former Parliament Deputy, from the Yulia Tymoshenko party.  Ironically, he himself took part in the Maidan coup which led, as Ryabov points out, to the destruction of the Ukrainian economy.

(yalensis:  Ukraine is a strange country where all the important players from all the political parties, and even the leaders of trade unions, all work for one oligarch or another!)

Anyhow, this is what Volynets had to say about the miners demands:

“We drew up an appeal to the share-holders of the company.  It contains just one demand:  To raise the wages of the main professions to the level of 2012, namely equivalent to 1000 [American] dollars.  Today many miners are receiving only around 10,000 hryvnas [less than $400], and the workers of the ancillary services 3,000 hryvnas [just over $100].  The necessity to raise the wages is caused by a growth in the cost of living:  fees for gas, electricity and communal services, and also the rise in prices of food and other necessities…”

Iron Ore mine in Ukrainian Donbass

According to Volynets, the mine owners and Company administration have not been receptive to the demands of the Trade Union.  On the contrary, management claim that the miners are receiving a more than adequate wage as it is.  They also accuse the miners of being lazy, politically motivated, and paid off by the Russian government.  They threaten to fire the striking miners if they don’t snap into shape, and then use their paychecks to supplement the wages of the scabs.

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