Miners to decide whether to go on strike today

opublikowano: 11-12-2007, 10:37

Warsaw (Puls Biznesu) – Today, the results of the referendum in Kompania Weglowa coal group will show whether the miners will go  on strike next week. If so, the results of the sector, which are already very poor, will get even worse.

All trade unions present at Kompania Weglowa (KW), Poland’s biggest coal group, demand wage increases. Yesterday, in all 17 mines of KW group, referendum was being conducted concerning the wages. Today, the results will be known. Miners may decide that on December 17th, they go on strike. If all mines are closed, 190,000 tons of coal less will be produced and sales will drop by PLN 35m (EUR 9.8m). In previous referendums, 90 percent of miners voted for strike. Trade unions want 6.9 percent wage increase in December and 14 percent increase next year. Zbigniew Madej, KW spokesman, said that the company cannot pay any more this year. Grzegorz Pawlaszek, KW CEO, said earlier this month that over 63,000 of KW employees may get 10 percent wage increase next year.

Management of another coal group, Jastrzebska Spolka Weglowa (JSW) was also negotiating with trade unions yesterday.

“We expect 11 percent wage increase this year. Management agreed for 8 percent. It will turn out today if we reach agreement. Then we will decide what to do next”, Andrzej Ciok from Solidarność trade union said.

Jaroslaw Zagorowski, JSW CEO, believes that he cannot offer more than 8 percent increase. In Katowicki Holding Weglowy (KHW), negotiations are going on between the management and employers.

Janusz Olszowski, CEO of the Mining Chamber of Trade and Industry believes that miners deserve higher wages but they should respond to their companies’ results. In the first 10 months of this year, the net income of the mining sector was PLN 351.2m lower than a year ago and amounted to PLN 161.9m. Debts of the companies exceeded PLN 6bn while production fell by 5.6m tons. Remuneration rose by PLN 16.8m to PLN 6.1bn while 3,230 people left the mines. Wages constituted 46 percent of production costs.

(PLN 1 = EUR 0.280)

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