Source Pravda.Ru

Russian coal miners protest wage delays

Solemnly banging their hard hats on the sidewalk, about 50 miners from fourRussian coal regions brought complaints of wage delays and unsafe workingconditions to the government on Wednesday - a rare sign of discontent withthe policies of President Vladimir Putin.The miners, protesting outside the Fuel and Energy Ministry in Moscow forthe third day in a row, blamed the government for failing to revitalize thestruggling coal industry and demanded meetings with Putin and topgovernment officials. "All of our appeals, letters and demands to theRussian president and the Russian government have been ignored," saidViktor Semyonov, chairman of the Komi regional branch of the IndependentMiners Union. Semyonov said restructuring of the mining industry that hadbeen promised in the 1990s bore no fruit. "The only restructuring has beento close mines," he said.Workers' protests were common in Moscow in the 1990s, culminating inseveral months of miners' demonstrations in 1998, when hundreds of coalworkers descended on the capital of Russia. But such protests have beenrare since Putin became president more than two and a half years ago, theRussia Journal reported..

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