On Wednesday, Ukrainian miners went on strike. It was organised by the country's largest coal mining trade-union.
130 out of the 170 mines are on strike, deputy chairman of the Central Committee of the trade-union Leonid Davydov reported. According to him, the striking miners have stopped the production of coal.
The miners' major demand, Davydov said, is to fund the coal mining sector according to the standards stipulated by a programme of reforming the sector, that is 5.2 billion hryvnas /$1 is equal to 5.3 hryvnas/. The draft state budget of Ukraine for the next year envisages the allocation of 2.235 billion hryvnas to the sector.
"The sum is even smaller than this year's 2.8 billion hryvnas," Davydov said.
The miners also demand to pay off wage arrears debts and to review the figures. According to Davydov, the minimal pay the miners get today is 118 hryvnas per month, while the legal minimum pay is set at 165 hryvnas per month.
Davydov did not say when the strike would end.
"If our problems are solved today, we will immediately quit the strike," he said.
Later today the Supreme Rada /parliament/ of Ukraine will consider the issue of financing the coal mining sector in 2003. Unless the miners' demands are met, they will continue the strike.
"We will consult labour groups to determine the form of the further strike," Davydov said.