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Stalemate in talks over miners' strikes

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Stalemate in talks over miners' strikes

Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz took part in a 12-hour session of talks with unionists representing striking miners on Monday, but no compromise was reached over the restructuring of state-controlled mines.

Talks between government delegates and unionists are due to continue on Tuesday, with as many as 8 mines now involved in underground strikes.

Among the chief grievances of the strikers is the prospective closure of four Silesian mines belonging to state-owned company Kompania Weglowa.

''I came here to Silesia with a very solid proposal, a proposal that would protect jobs for miners, whose work I have enormous respect for,'' Kopacz said.

The prime minister said that her offer ''is still on the table,'' inviting unionists to continue the talks with government delagates on Tuesday.

However, Dominik Kolorz, head of a regional branch of the Solidarity trade union, said that no assurances had been made that the four mines ear-marked for closure would endure for long.

He said the proposals made by the government ''do not give any guarantee that these mines could function for more than a year, or a year and a half.''

Likewise, Kolorz noted that unionists proposals calling for ''very deep'' restructuring and recovery programmes for the four mines in question had been rejected by the government.

According to plans accepted by the government on 7 January, nine other Kompania Weglowa mines would be taken over by state-controlled company Weglokoks.

State-owned coal mining firm Kompania Weglowa has been recording vast losses in recent times.
In mid-September the then-CEO of the company Miroslaw Taras stated that only three out of the firm's 14 mines were profitable.

In the first half of 2014, the company recorded a net loss of PLN 342.7 million zloty (EUR 81.8 million) compared to PLN 228.7 million zloty (EUR 54.6 million) in losses a year earlier.

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