Hundreds of Polish miners join protest

WARSAW (AFP) – Hundreds of miners have joined a strike in Poland this week by staying underground after their shifts in protest as Poland comes under pressure from the European Union (EU) to phase out coal mines.

The protest began with around 100 strikers in two mines in Poland’s southern coal basin of Silesia on Monday and several more mines have joined in.

A demonstration is planned on Friday in Ruda Slaska, near one of the mines where the strike began, despite ongoing negotiations between trade unions and government representatives.

The unions want the government to shift its target for phasing out coal from 2050 to 2060 and have warned that hasty mine closures will have disastrous economic and social consequences.

Depending on coal for 80 per cent of its power needs, Poland ranks among the EU members that are most reliant on the dirty fossil fuel and there are still around 80,000 coal miners. An EU member of 38 million, Poland earlier this month expressed concern over an EU proposal to boost the bloc’s 2030 target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from 40 to 55 per cent.