23rd April: General Director of Krasnodon Coal issues statement claiming that only a small minority of miners back the strike, and are doing so only “under the influence of provocative appeals” by supporters of federalisation and a local referendum.
This small minority was supposedly preventing the rest of the workforce from working as normal: “Do not believe claims that 80% of the workforce are on strike. More than 97% want to work, but cannot get to work because of the road-blocks on the access roads.”
According to the company statement, the miners are raising political demands as well as economic ones: They want the company to provide coaches to take them to the offices of the Ukrainian Security Services in Lugansk, occupied by separatists.
23rd April: According to an article on the Ukrainian business website “Hubs”, every day’s lost production at the mines costs the parent company of Krasnodon Coal over $1.2 millions.
Article quotes Yury Tasherev, representative of the Krasnodon Coal trade union, denying that any political demands have been raised:
“There were no political issues. Why head for Lugansk? If anyone wants to go there – please, they can do it in their own time. The miners are demanding a doubling of their pay, to about 15,000 hrivniya.”
“And they want scrapping of the HayGroup method of calculating pay (in which the level of pay is dependent on the performance of a co-worker).”
According to Tasherev, the mines are at a standstill, with only maintenance work, but no production, underway in the pits.
Article also quotes an economic analyst from Eavex Capital: “(If salaries were increased by 50%), the cost would not be a small amount but would be tolerable. What is important is that if there is such a pay rise, then this could lead to strikes in other subsidiaries of the parent company.”
24th April: Talks are underway between Krasnodon Coal management and an “initiative group” set up by the striking miners themselves. Trade union officials and officials from the local council are also involved in the talks.
Transport to the pits is still blocked (although it is unclear whether this is caused by road-blocks manned by separatists, or by striking miners).
Those involved in the talks agree that anyone approaching the company’s offices should be checked to make sure that: they are a Krasnodon Coal employee; they are sober; they are not a provocateur.
24th April: Unlike all other reports about the strike, a report by the Russian news channel RT claims: “Miners are also refusing to pay a 10% tax on their salaries, imposed by the post-coup authorities to restore the Maidan Square in Kiev.”
The same article ‘quoted’ a Krasnodon Coal miner as saying: “We are also against Kiev’s junta. We do not recognise their authority. It is not legitimate. We stand for the memory of our ancestors fighting alongside Russians. We are all Slavs. We are one nation. We do not have heroes such as Bandera and Shukhevych.”
25th April: According to a statement issued by the company, production has resumed in all pits bar one but talks are still underway. A “mutual understanding” has been reached on 15 of the 16 issues raised by the miners, but there is no agreement on the demand for a pay rise.
On the square in front of the company offices miners are collecting signatures for a petition calling for a return to the old version of the collective agreement in operation in Krasnodon Coal from 1998 onwards, but gradually whittled away by management over time.