Nationwide coal strike to begin in Poland

Poland’s coal mining industry has ground to a halt, as miners plan to go on a nationwide strike on Monday February 2.

Unionised workers from the largest coal mining nation in Europe will strike in support of employees of JSW (Jastrzebska Spolka Weglowa SA), the largest metallurgical coal producer in the European Union.

Talks between Polish unions and JSW have failed to reach agreement about company plans to scrap social benefits and the dismissal of union leaders,” World Coal reported.

JSW recently dismissed ten workers from the Budryk mine who organised a protest in January, which the company said was illegal and had endangered workers at the mine.

In retaliation Polish unions have demanded the resignation of JSW’s management board.

Unions stopped work at six JSW coal mines last week, with the company warning that each day of the strike would make the situation more difficult.

Labour unions at Kompania Weglowa, the largest coal miner in Poland with 49,000 workers across 14 mines, will join the protest today.

JSW had a net loss of 305 million Zloty (A$106 million) in the first nine months of 2014, and has sought 517 million Zloty (A$180 million) worth of cost cuts to maintain liquidity during the run of low global coal prices.

A spokeswoman for JSW said each day of strike action would cost the miner 30 million Zloty (A$10.5 million).

Image: Sebastiao Barbosa

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