Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 21:33:50 -0600 (CST)
From: (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: UKRAINE: 40,000 Miners Strike
Article: 51036
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

/** headlines: 116.0 **/
** Topic: UKRAINE: 40,000 Miners Strike **
** Written 4:46 PM Dec 28, 1998 by labornet in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 6:12 AM Dec 18, 1998 by in labr.newsline */
/* ————— “UKRAINE MINERS STRIKE” ————— */

Ukrainian miners' grim New Year

ICEM Update, No. 100/1998, 18 December 1998

Indefinite strike over unpaid wages. Miners threaten to burn themselves to death

A grim New Year faces the Ukraine's unpaid miners and their families.

40,000 miners have now launched an indefinite strike at the call of the Miners'Indepedent Trade Union of Ukraine (MITU).

They have two demands:

Miners who see their families going hungry are now turning to acts of despair.

This Monday, a MITU miner picketing the Lugansk state administration tried to burn himself to death. Alexandre Mikhalevich is in critical condition after suffering 45 percent burns to his body and lungs.

Three other miners say they will resort to self-immolation unless the wage backlog is paid.

At the global level, MITU is affiliated to the 20-million-strong International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM).

“The desperate act of Alexandre Mikhalevich reminds us immensely and painfully of the limits of what humans can endure,” writes ICEM General Secretary Vic Thorpe in a solidarity message to MITU Chairman Mikhail Volynets. “The sheer enormity of the wages a nd social payments due to workers cannot distract us from the thought that behind these figures are tens of thousands of men, women and children suffering in their limbs and souls. We realise that entire communities must feel that they have been brutally robbed of their past and of their future.”

But, Thorpe warns, “our compassion cannot distract us from the firm belief that the response of organised workers lies in struggle—not self-annihilation. Yes, there are moments when we are overwhelmed by the complexity and magnitude of the problems in f ront of us, but the bitter experience of the ICEM's members is that there are no alternatives than to continue to fight for justice, dignity and solutions.”