On the Picket Line

Ukraine coal miners sit in over gov’t refusal to pay back wages

By Brian Williams
December 27, 2021

Members of the Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine stopped work at the Chervonogradska mine in the Lviv region Dec. 7 to protest the government’s refusal to pay their back wages. The 42 miners on the first shift sat in underground for a day and a half.

After the miners left the mine, they picketed at the international border crossing between Ukraine and Poland at Rava-Ruska, stopping traffic. Other miners protested at the administrative building of the state company in Sokal and outside the City Council in Chervonograd. The workers include both underground miners and processing workers, many of whom are women.

Similar protests demanding unpaid wages by miners and coal truck drivers took place at the Dobropilska mine in the Donetsk region in southeastern Ukraine.

“The reason for the two miners’ protests are wage arrears,” Mykhailo Volynets, chairperson of the union, said. The government only allocated $1.5 million to pay back wages at the Chervonograd complex, but the amount owed as of Dec. 7 amounts to $13.9 million. This government disregard for the livelihoods of the miners is an ongoing problem, which has led to a number of protest actions over the past year.