JSW miners embark on strike
PR dla Zagranicy
JSW miners embark on strike - Silesian correspondent Jarosław Juszkiewicz reports.
Miners from Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa, one of Poland’s – and Europe’s – largest coal mining companies, started a strike, Wednesday morning, in protest against the management, which trade unions have called “shameful”.
Photo: PAP/Andrzej Grygiel
The industrial action comes after a referendum which took place over the first two days of this week over whether to hold a strike.
Deputy head of the Solidarity trade union at JSW, Sławomir Brudziński said that miners did not want to strike, but were forced to due to the “shameful actions of the board and its chairman Jarosław Zagórowski in particular”.
An overwhelming majority of miners voted in favour of the strike – 18,474 – with only 236 miners polling against the industrial action. However, union spokesman Piotr Szereda underlined that any involvement in the strike by employees is entirely voluntary.
Nevertheless, Zagórowski recorded a statement which was broadcast over the tannoy systems to try and stop workers – some 26,000 of them – from taking part in the strike.
The strike comes as miners are protesting against financial cutbacks which the board of JSW wants to implement, including a pay rise in 2015 and a reform of the annual bonus scheme to be dependent on profits as well as the scrapping of a number of other perks.
Trade unions are also protesting the board’s decision to sack nine of their members working at the Budryk mine on disciplinary charges.
Clashes between JSW management and trade unions have been drawn-out, with the latter claiming that Jarosław Zagórowski has been merely posing bilateral dialogue.
JSW’s boss, meanwhile, maintains that the unions oppose any beneficial changes to the company, which is struggling through a crisis in the industry.
Additionally, an earlier referendum held in October showed overwhelming support for the ousting of the JSW management, although the board discounted the vote as being illegitimate.
The JSW Group is the largest producer of type 35 hard coking coal and a major supplier of coke in the EU.
Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa SA was created on 1 April 1993 as one of seven coal mining companies, and includes five mines: Borynia-Zofia-Jastrzębie, Budryk, Knurów-Szczygłowice, Krupiński and Pniówek as well as a material logistics centre.
The JSW SA capital group contains other companies in the mining industry, employing a total of 35,000 people, of which 26,000 work for JSW proper. (jb)