POLAND

Miners go on strike…underground

Neither Christmas nor New Year alleviated the situation. Miners from Budryk, Silésie, in south-west Poland, have reached their twenty-second day of strike without disruption. The movement, which began over-ground, has now taken refuge under the soil. This weekend there were almost five-hundred gathered at the bottom of the mine demanding higher wages. Our Observer in Poland has helped us to decipher the conflict. We're also publishing a commentary from one of the leaders of the strike, who says he's asking for only to be paid the same as other miners in Poland.

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Neither Christmas nor New Year alleviated the situation. Miners from Budryk, Silésie, in south-west Poland, have reached their twenty-second day of strike without disruption. The movement, which began over-ground, has now taken refuge under the soil. This weekend there were almost five-hundred gathered at the bottom of the mine demanding higher wages. Our Observer in Poland has helped us to decipher the conflict. We're also publishing a commentary from one of the leaders of the strike, who says he's asking for only to be paid the same as other miners in Poland.

Commentary from Marcin Smietana, our Observer in Poland

The strikers are still underground. Recently the crew changed level to be in a warmer area. Talks that were supposed to be held at the municipal council this afternoon were cancelled due to the fact that the miners ignored them again. They say they'll only take part under the condition that the negotiations take place in the coalmine.

The mine's CEO Piotr Bojarski says the protesting committee has to take full responsibility for its actions and the consequences of the protest. Recent opinion given by him included comparing the strike leaders to terrorists taking hostages.

Financial losses so far amount to 32m PLN (€9m). The complainants are asking to be paid the same as miners who work for the same group."

Post your questions to Marcin Smietana

Commentary from Krzysztof Labadz, a trade union president in Budryk and currently a strike committee leader

There are about 500 workers grouped at two different levels in the coalmine. They searched for warmer areas higher up, however it's still cold and the most urgent need is to provide all the miners with as many blankets as possible. Blankets were provided by fellow miners from other coalmines and the protesters also asked the Red Cross for additional help. We provide food for the strikers. If we didn't everyone would be on hunger-strike by now.

The Budryk mine is one of the best of its kind in Poland and generates a huge income, and that is why we feel cheated. We see the request as a compromise on our part."

Protesting noisily

Video posted 20 December 2008

Getting together to strike

Video posted 19 December 2008

Strikers sing their complaints

Video posted 3 January 2008

The trade union's online call for action

See the site 'Sierpien 80'