Over 400 miners hold underground protest

The number of miners of the Polish Mining Group (PGG) holding an underground protest has grown to over 400 according to unionists.

The press office of the Silesia-Dabrowska branch of the Solidarity trade union said that, currently, the greatest number of miners (185) are talking part in a protest at the Halemba mine, one of three parts of the Ruda colliery in Ruda Slaska, southern Poland. At the Piast-Ziemowit mine there are 70 underground protesters and at the group's remaining mines around 20 to 30 people.

"The protest is rotational in nature, which means that those who remain underground at the end of their shift replace protesting colleagues from an earlier shift," Solidarity explained. "Some of the participants of the campaign have decided to stay underground longer."

The subterranean protest started on Monday in three parts of the Ruda mine in Ruda Slaska: Halemba, Pokoj and Bielszowice, as well as at the Wujek mine in Katowice, southern Poland. On Tuesday, miners from the Piast and Ziemowit collieries joined the protest and on Wednesday, the demonstration spread to the Boleslaw Smialy, Sosnica, Myslowice-Wesola and Murcki-Staszic mines. Miners from other collieries are due to join the campaign on Thursday.

A march has also been announced for Friday through the streets of Ruda Slaska to be attended by representatives of other sectors threatened by EU climate-energy policy. The demonstrators question, among other things, the assumptions of energy policy concerning the tempo of withdrawal from coal as an energy source and investment in gas energy production. They also want support for zero-emission coal technology.