About 100 miners from the Budryk coal mine in Ornomontowice in Silesia have been on strike while 700 meters underground. Although the directors of the mine have blocked the shafts, the miners have found ways to get below the surface. Among those underground is a miners? rescuer who supports the strike.
“We will stand up. All of Poland will see how much time underground a miner is able to stand up to,” a striker said.
The striking miners have demanded pay equal to that of miners employed in the Jastrzebie Coal Co., which incorporated the Budryk mine in January.
The Budryk board has proposed an additional 5 zloty per day for the 2,400 miners. The strikers have demanded 12 zloty more per day, which would boost their wages to about 600 zloty per month.
The leaders of the protest say they are willing to begin talks with the board of Budryk. The board has stated that the economic situation excludes the possibility of meeting the miners? demands.
The Budryk board also says that the strike is illegal. The walkout is being led by four of the nine trade unions at the mine: “August 80,” “Staff,” “Unity of the Workers” and the “Trade Union of Mining Rescuers.” The other five unions have agreed to work under the conditions proposed by the mining board.
On Jan. 5, families of the strikers gathered at the front of the mine and lit candles in support of the protest.
“This candle is a symbol of light which should show that we are with them,” a miner’s wife said. “We want to show that they are fighting for a good cause. We come here to present our solidarity with our men.”
Budryk Coal Mine Joint-Stock Co. is the youngest and one of the most modern coal mines in Poland. There are more than 40 coal beds in the mine.
The first ton of Budryk coal was mined on March 14, 1994. Since that time, the mine has provided domestic and foreign consumers with 32.5 mln tons of hard coal for power industry sectors and other branches of the economy.