Because of the occupation, only one third of the mines in the Donbas are on the territory controlled by Ukraine. Instead of supporting them, the state deprived them of subventions. As a result of that, the miners of “Krasnoarmiyskugol” have not got their wages for several months, and no financial support is given to spend on equipment and other needs. “Donetsk Dialogue” journalists tried to clarify the situation in a program of Donbas Public TV.
“The situation is the same at all the 35 mines which are located on the territory of Ukraine. No wages have been paid out in July, August, and September. The state has not given any support since January, 2015. Officials say that mines should find investors. We are ready to extract 2.5 thousand norms of coal. There is no state support; the money from coal realization is very little; the state does not support them and buy the coal in the Republic of South Africa”, says Oleksandr Abramov, head of “Krasnoarmiyskuhol”.
“27 mines out of 95 are left on the territory controlled by Ukraine. The Ministry of coal industry together with mines has developed a program for mines development. It was planned that the state will give 3.9 billion of subventions, but the mines will get rid of subventions in future. However, to avoid subventions in future, it is required to invest money in the development. The state has given 900 mln Hryvnyas out of necessary 3.9 billion, and 600 mln of the sum was spent on wages”, says Oleksandr Ryshchenko, director of the department of the basic industries development of Donetsk regional military and civil administration.
The miners say that they have to work without wages as there is no alternative employment, with “Stakhanov” mine being the main business in the town.
“It’s no good to leave the mine as there are no jobs. All the mines are subordinated to “Krasnoarmiyskugol”. Some mines are being closed; others work the way they did in the 19th century. There is no equipment», says Oleksandr Abramov.
Problems with wages make people start stealing. When separatists tried to seize the mine, the workers did not allow them to do that. Now separatists boast that the mines seized by them are well-to-do, and Ukrainian businesses are in a complicated situation.
“Absence of money at mines, when there are no wages and people try to survive make them start stealing. The guards understand that and try to combat stealing. However, the occupied territory is in 40-50 km, and all the TV channels are full of “DPR” broadcasting. They show that people live there in the proper way, but we don't get money, and everything is bad. People start reflecting on and asking questions”, says Vasyl, a guard.
Oleksandr Ryshchenko says, “Several mines are working on the occupied territory, with the major part being closed. And the information about the perfect situation in the mining industry on the occupied territory is propaganda”.
Mining is a very dangerous job though it is devalued, as people in the trade union think. This is because the Hryvnya rate goes down, and prices go up. In the past it was prestigious to be a miner; now it is not attractive.
“Several years ago miners got 8-9 thousand Hryvnyas. It was equivalent of $ 1,000. Today those who work underground earn $250-300. There is nowhere for miners to go; they have families here. The war is in several kilometers, and we try to keep miners here for them not go to the occupied territory. The main argument is that there is peace here”, says Oleksandr Abramov.
“Yes, there are wages arrays, but the wages are paid out in installements. The debt to all workers is 47 million. There is no plan, and we do not know what will happen in future and when the money will come. We think of merging all the state mines of the Donetsk region into one mining company for it to coordinate the work and receive money”, says Oleksandr Ryshchenko.
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