Polish miners vote to strike

Zbigniew Meissner/PAP

Miners working for the Polish Mining Group (PGG), Europe's biggest hard coal producer, have voted to strike in a company-wide referendum after talks with management and officials from the state-assets ministry failed to end a wage dispute.

Talks are set to continue on Friday, but in the meantime miners are preparing for strike action.

Turnout for the ballot, which started on Wednesday and ended on Thursday, came in at 58-percent, with 98.65 percent of the miners voting for strike action.

"We expected such a result from the referendum," said Artur Braszkiewicz, deputy leader of PGG's Solidarity trade union.

The dispute between PGG miners and company management has rumbled on since mid-December.

Workers have demanded better compensation for working weekends and higher wages. According to unofficial estimates, their demands could cost the company PLN 130-140 million (EUR 28.4-30.6 million) in total.

Last week, the miners blocked rail transports of coal from PGG mines for 48 hours, following on from a similar protest that took place in December.

They are planning to start blocking coal transports once again from Monday, but this time they will maintain the blockade until their demands are met.