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About 1,000 coalminers are picketing Ukrainian parliament for pay rises

December 23, 2015, 13:34 UTC+3 KIEV
The coal workers from the Krasnoarmeiskugol industrial association are demanding payment of back wages and the prevention of power outages at coalmines
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© Sergei Reznik/TASS
© Sergei Reznik/TASS
© Sergei Reznik/TASS
© Sergei Reznik/TASS

KIEV, December 23. /TASS/. Coalminers from the Lviv and Volyn regions of Ukraine and from Donbas are demonstrating in front of the Ukrainian parliament building in support of the demand for preserving their jobs and dismissing the government, a TASS correspondent reports from the site.

"Our demand is the authorities should stop ruining the coal industry," the coal miners said.

The coal workers from the Krasnoarmeiskugol industrial association are demanding payment of back wages and the prevention of power outages at coalmines.

"We barely survived in 2015, but we will not surrender. No preparations for the winter season had been made. Energy and Coal Industry Minister Volodymyr Demchyshin did not even ask us how the coalmines will get through the winter. He does not care the coalminers are paid no wages," says Sergey, a trade union spokesman.

The coalminers are extremely worried the indebted mines are unable to pay the electricity bills. This may result in high gas concentrations and inundations, if the pumps removing water from the mines go idle.

Medical workers, who earlier demonstrated near the Cabinet of Ministers’ building, have joined the coalminers. Medical doctors and patients were protesting against cuts in health service spending. Gravely ill people appeared near the government building with bags on their heads and nooses around their necks to drive the message home. The miners and medics are going to hand over the nooses to government members.

"They are invited to use them, because they have thrown the people into despair. A government that is ruining the health service and the coal industry has no right to live," said parliament member Oleg Musiy.

Next to the protesting coal-workers some 200 activists from Krivoi Rog are demanding re-election of the city mayor. They disagree with the returns from the local elections in which the Oppositional Bloc’s candidate, Yuri Vilkul, took the mayor’s seat.

The situation near the Ukrainian parliament is calm. No clashes have occurred so far.

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