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Letter from Ukrainian miners

Published Oct 14, 2010 9:53 PM

The counterrevolution in the USSR has allowed a few people the “freedom” to exploit workers in order to become millionaires, but has diminished workers’ rights, as we can see from the following appeal from Ukrainian workers for solidarity from abroad.

After the presidential elections other persons and names have come to rule Ukraine, but the “new” power continues the attack against fighting workers’ trade unions in the same way the “old” power did. Thus the management of the Krasnodonugol — that is, the association of some of the mines in the Lugansk region belonging to billionaire Rinat Akhmetov (whose protégé recently became president) — has decided to get rid of “those who disturb the peace.” This is the fighting and originally independent workers’ organization called the Independent Trade Union of Miners (NPG) at the Imeni Barakova mine. The last straw for the director was that NPG has opposed the deterioration of miners’ working conditions.

At the beginning of 2010 a so-called “integrated system of compensation” was developed along with even worse working conditions, especially for Akhmetov’s enterprises, Krasnodonugol and Pavlogradugol. In addition, payment became nominal, and now it in many respects depends on individual agreements of the management with workers. The NPG union took sharp actions against these changes, describing them as transforming workers into serfs. The new system corresponds to neither national nor international standards nor norms of work organization.

The independent trade union has demanded that management pay workers according to the industry agreement and laws of Ukraine. The union also was able to obtain from the state agency that inspects work in the Lugansk region a demand that the management of Krasnodonugol eliminate its infringements of the legislation concerning payment of miners. The owners of the company, however, not only haven’t executed court requirements, but also have dismissed a number of active workers who are NPG members.

This is not the first attempt to punish union members. The NPG called the administration’s actions “not only a crime which was expressed in a crude infringement of laws on work,” but also “punishment of the trade union and of all workers’ movements, and an attempt to transform workers into voiceless slaves.” The NPG has also protested dismissals in a judicial order.

As a result, the majority of active workers have been restored to their jobs. However, NPG leader Dmitry Kalitventsev remains dismissed. The workers continue their struggle against the administration and owners of Krasnodonugol.

It is necessary to help the fighting trade union leader be restored to his job! Solidarity support is necessary from groups in the working-class movement of other countries!

The Coordination Council of the Workers’ Movement of Ukraine (KSRD) asks that protest letters be sent to following addresses in Ukraine:

President: Bankovaja str. 11, Kiev, 01220, Ukraine; e-mail: [email protected]

Cabinet of Ministers: Grushevsky’s str. 12/2, Kiev, 01008, Ukraine; e-mail: [email protected]

State Office of Public Prosecutor: Reznitskaya str. 13/15, Kiev, 01601, Ukraine

Supreme Court, 4 P. Orlyka str., Kiev, 01024, Ukraine; e-mail: web_editor @scourt.gov.ua

Lugansk regional state administration: Heroes of the Second World War square 3, Lugansk, 91016, Ukraine; e-mail: [email protected]

And also to the Ukrainian Embassy in your country. Send a copy of your letter to the Coordination Council of the Workers’ Movement of Ukraine (KSRD): [email protected] http://proletar.org.ua.