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    Miners demonstrated in Warsaw. They defended Poland's energy sovereignty

    On Saturday, representatives of energy and mining trade unions demonstrated in defence of Poland’s energy sovereignty, jobs and against high energy and heat prices in front of the European Commission Representation in Warsaw.

    At noon in Warsaw, in front of the European Commission Representation in Poland, a miners’ demonstration was held under the slogan: “Yes to Poland’s energy sovereignty. No to high energy and heat prices.” It was organised by the All-Poland Protest and Strike Committee of power and mining, power-related and heating companies.

     

    OPZZ (abbreviation for The All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions – editor’s note) Vice-President Piotr Ostrowski said that trade unionists mainly from Bełchatów and Turów came to Warsaw.

     

    “Workers from the Bełchatów mine and power plant and the Turów lignite mine are afraid of losing their jobs as we move away from coal due to the energy transition policy,” Ostrowski said.

     

    He acknowledged that this transformation is related to global processes, including European and Polish ones. “We live in a country where the word “transformation” has a bad connotation. Workers have a right to feel uncertain about what the future holds for them and the regions in which they live and work. I don’t see actions that would aim to appease these miners,” he said.

     

    As he noted, in the case of coal mining, there was an agreement between the unions and the government. At issue is the social contract adopted by the public to move away from hard coal by 2049.

     

    “On this issue, we have plans and a signed agreement to desistance of coal mining by 2049. As far as lignite is concerned, there is no such agreement, which results in the frustration of employees,” he said.

     

    He admitted that trade unionists “expect the government to hold serious talks and treat all employees of the energy and mining sector in Poland seriously and to outline realistic and appropriate plans taking into account social issues”.

     

    Artur Wilk, President of the Trade Union Committee of ZZ “Kontra” at Tauron Wytwarzanie in his “Call to Action” pointed out that “without a stable power and heating system based on domestic resources, we will be dependent on coal and gas supplies from neighbouring countries.

     

    “It is their economies that will grow by finding a market in our country. We will pay for it in our monthly bills for electricity and heat, where the freedom of price regulation will be a bread and butter for foreign capital,” he stressed.

     

    The manifestation was attended by politicians from Solidarna Polska, including Janusz Kowalski MP and Minister Michał Wójcik. “Together with Michał Wojcik, Solidarna Polska and trade unionists from the OPZZ and the WZZ (Free Trade Union – editor’s note) August 80’ +Kontra+ National Committee, we defend Polish coal,” Kowalski wrote on Twitter.

     

     

    On Friday, Minister of Climate and Environment Anna Moskwa attended a meeting in Prague regarding Turów Lignite Mine. This meeting, the first after changes in the Polish government and with the participation of the new head of the Ministry of the Environment, is a continuation of Polish-Czech talks on the mine.

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