"Surprise" for the government from token-striking coal miner unions
Members of coal miner unions on Monday left small heaps of coal at the Silesian offices of Law and Justice (PiS) MPs. "We came to protest against the government policy, against importing so many tonnes of coal, and not only from Russia. Against the policy of eliminating coal from public life" - said the chief of coal miner "Solidarity" union Bogusław Hutek. The unionists demand "urgent government action".
In the mines owned by the state-controlled Polish Mining Group (PGG) on Monday morning a token strike was organised. The miners started their work with a 2-hour delay, demanding higher wages and solving mounting problems in the mining industry. According to the unions, all mines owned by the PGG participated in the strike.
This was not the end. The union members then went to PM Mateusz Morawiecki's MP office in Katowice, scattered coal in front of the entrance and covered it with wires and leaflets. This way they wanted to protest against coal and electricity imports, as the slogans from the leaflets suggested.
"We came here to protest against government policy, (against) so many tonnes of coal imported, not only from Russia, (and against) local governments' policy that eliminate coal from public life" - said Bogusław Hutek from the "Solidarity" union.
Mr Hutek also said: "We expect urgent government action, primarily as regards to coal imports".
The union members also scattered coal at the offices of state assets deputy minister Adam Gawęda, PiS MP Jerzy Polaczek, and - according to social media reports - PiS MP Teresa Glenc and deputy justice minister Michał Wójcik.
At the beginning of February, deputy PM and minister of state assets Jacek Sasin informed in response to an interpellation that, in line with the current regulations, Poland had no possibility to limit or block Russian coal imports through administrative decision.
According to the Ministry of State Assets, in 2019 Poland imported 16.7 million tonnes of coal, mostly from Russia (10.8 million tonnes).
In 2018, 20 million tonnes of coal was imported to Poland, of which 13.47 milion tonnes came from Russia.
Last year, Polish mines extracted over 61.6 million tonnes of coal - around 1.8 million tonnes less than the previous year. Coal sales dropped by 4.1 million tonnes (yoy) down to 58.4 million tonnes - according to Industrial Development Agency.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: TVN24