No deal reached, miner protest continues in Poland

Zbigniew Meissner/PAP

Workers from the Polish Mining Group (PGG), Europe's biggest hard coal producer, who on Monday blocked coal transports to power plants, continued their protest on Wednesday following a fiasco of talks with PGG's management.

The miners, who demand higher wages and better compensation for working weekends, plan to end their protest on Thursday morning.

Another round of talks is planned for January 10, in the presence of a mediator.

PGG spokesperson Tomasz Glogowski said that "the protest has no impact on coal extraction as it has been going on in accordance with the plan."

According to the Miner Solidarity leader, Boguslaw Hutek, the blockade has no impact on the sale of coal to individual customers. The protesters had also released a train loaded with coal for a sodium plant in Inowroclaw, northern Poland, "because this is not a power plant, and the lack of coal could halt its production."

According to unofficial estimates, the workers' demands could cost the company about PLN 130-140 million (EUR 28.4-30.6 million) in total.

In a show of solidarity, farmers from the Agrounia organisation brought food to the striking miners.

About 35-40 trains carrying coal leave PGG mines every day. The unions had already blocked rail transports of PGG coal between Dec 21 and 23, for one day in each of the PGG mines.

Commenting on the blockade on Tuesday, Piotr Pyzik, a deputy state assets minister responsible for the mining sector, said it constitutes a threat to Poland's energy security.