Wednesday 22 November 2017

Protesting Bosnian miners resurface after deal struck

Around 140 miners in Bosnia, who spent the past two days in an underground protest, surfaced on today after the miner's management agreed to raise their pay and hire more production staff.

A deal was reached during overnight negotiations between the miners, management and the EPBiH power company that owns the Djurdjevik coal mine near the northeastern town of Tuzla.

"The talks ended positively," an EPBiH spokeswoman told Reuters. "All miners have now left the mine," she said.

The miners had barricaded themselves in a pit 125 metres below ground on Monday, in protest at the hiring of an administrative official despite a deal with the government to hold off recruitment of non-production staff until the miners' wages go up.

They had threatened to go on hunger strike, and three workers left the mine on Tuesday due to health problems.

On Wednesday, the mine management agreed to fire the administrative official and begin hiring more production workers instead, General Manager Zijad Rahimic told Reuters.

It also agreed to give the miners 20pc more in their August pay packet and to bring in a new salary policy to more fairly balance pay between production workers and administrative staff, Rahimic said.

The Djurdjevik brown coal mine employs more than 1,000 workers and churns out around 600,000 tonnes a coal per year, supplying the nearby Tuzla coal-fired power plant.

The mine union has long complained about pay, conditions and delayed modernisation plans at the mine. The EPBiH spokeswoman said talks with the miners would continue.


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