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Ukrainian coal miners block international highway over wage arrears

January 12, 2016, 13:44 UTC+3 KIEV

The protest is held on the Lviv-Rava-Russkaya highway near the village of Smerekov

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Ukrainian coal miners

Ukrainian coal miners

© Sergei Reznik/TASS

KIEV, January 12. /TASS/. Some 250 coal miners have blocked a highway near Lviv, in western Ukraine, demanding the payment of wage arrears, a local TV channel reported on Tuesday.

"The protest is indefinite. It may last the whole day," the chairman of the trade union organization of the Mezhirichanskaya coal mine, Andrey Paskha, told the ZIK TV channel.

The protest is held on the Lviv-Rava-Russkaya highway near the village of Smerekov. The miners of the Stepnaya coal mine of Lvovugol enterprise have been paid just 46% of wages for November last year, he said.

"They did not pay anything more although they promised us to pay the wage arrears for November and December by the end of 2015. The families were left without a piece of bread for the Christmas holidays," he said.

In December 2015, the miners in Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine, stopped work because of the wage arrears. The protest organizers also threatened to block customs checkpoints on the border with Poland on January 12.

The ministry of energy and coal industry promised to pay the debt which reaches around 70 million hryvnias ($2.9 million), according to prosecutors. The Ukrainian budget envisages 500 million hryvnias ($20.8 million) for these aims.

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