Old King Coal Was a Merry Old Soul

Miners outside King Coal's offices in Gukovo. Photo courtesy of Caucasian Knot
Miners outside King Coal’s offices in Gukovo. Photo courtesy of Caucasian Knot

Miners in Gukovo Reject Governor’s Figures on Wage Arrears Payments
Caucasian Knot
October 6, 2016

About 100 miners have picketed outside the offices of the former coal mining company King Coal. The protesters claimed that reports they had been paid 20 million rubles in back pay were not true.

Caucasian Knot has previously reported that, on September 30, Vasily Golubev, governor of Rostov Region, stated the Regional Development Corporation had paid off 20 million rubles in back pay owed to miners working for the King Coal group of companies. The governor said the remaining debt was 270 million rubles.

The picketers, who gathered on October 5 outside King Coal’s offices in Gukovo, were outraged at the inaction of officials and information disseminated by the authorities, which they called “false.” In particular, they were upset by Governor Golubev’s announcement that miners had been paid 20 million rubles in back pay.

vasily_golubev_2013
Vasily Golubev. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

“What 20 million?! At twelve o’clock on October 3, we were paid 17,604,000 rubles,” said Nikolai Nadkernichny, a co-coordinator of the protest. He cited information from the Gukovo Territorial Committee of Trade Union Organizations.

“The governor probably rounded the figure. Well, he did a good job of it. Would that our pay were rounded up this way,” he added.

Nadkernichny doubted the governor’s claim that the remaining wage arrears amounted to 270 million rubles.

“On January 1, 2016, the wages owed us amounted to 319 million rubles. Even if you substract 20 million, you still don’t get 270 million,” sad Nadkernichny.

According to him, 200 people were still employed by King Coal in payroll and collections, accounting, and security. They were not being paid, so the actual amount of wage arrears was even higher.

Dmitry Kovalenko, an activist, reported that, on October 3, 406 workers at the Zamchalovo Mine, 93 workers at Tunneler LLC, and 279 workers at Rostovgormash had received payments.

According to Kovalenko, workers in the above-named organizers had not [sic] been paid for almost two weeks. Only at the Diamond Coal Company were workers being paid.

The protesters were also outraged that Mikhail Tikhonov, Rostov regional minister of industry and energy, had skipped a meeting with them scheduled for last Friday (September 30) and had kept brushing them off.

“His press office said he was in Moscow, but on Friday he was shown [on TV] at tube-rolling mill in Taganrog. The minister is obviously avoiding us, because this summer he promised 1,000 tons of сoal allowances [for heating and cooking] by October 15, but so far we have received only 100 tons,” said Nadkernichny.

“We are waiting for a reply from the President to the registered letter we sent him on September 23 after his community liaison office refused to take it. But so far there has been no response,” said Nadkernichny.

Caucasian Knot has also reported that properties (two administrative buildings and the right to lease the lot were they are located) owned by Diamond Coal Company JSC, a subsidiary of King Coal, had been put up for auction. The starting price for the properties was 50 million rubles.

Translated by the Russian Reader. Go to Caucasian Knot’s special page on the Gukovo wage arrears protests for this and earlier reports on the conflict.

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