The Slovenia Times

RTH Miners Get Written Assurances, Suspend Strike


The miners - 127 were on strike in the mine since Monday and another 70 staff in the administrative building - wanted clear answers on how the Trbovlje Hrastnik mine will operate in the coming two years.

Their demands included assurance on how money will be secured for wages in the coming months and for severance pay for the 135 miners made redundant and the ones to be laid off next year.

They also wanted to get answers about the possibilities of finding new employment for the redundant workers or of securing early retirement for them, Lisec said.

The strike was suspended after the management of the mine, which is undergoing winding down, provided written assurances today that the demands will be met.

According to RTH CEO Bojan Jelen, who visited the miners on Wednesday, the mine will get EUR 4m more from the national budget this year, while the funds for the March pay would be secured from the sales of assets, including apartments of its subsidiary Spekter.

This has sparked some doubt among the miners, as the sale procedure had not been launched yet. However, Jelen said that there was enough time for the sale, and March wages would be paid out on 18 April.

He moreover believes that the court-mandated debt restructuring launched on Tuesday will not affect the wages or liabilities towards the mine's suppliers.

The CEO is currently in Ljubljana to discuss the possibility of re-employing redundant workers in the railways operator Slovenske železnice.

Meanwhile, the miners in Velenje, who last week put industrial action on hold until 24 March to give the new interim CEO time to prepare for talks, told the STA that negotiations were going well and almost all their demands had been met.

Unionist Ferdinand Žerak moreover said that they expected to close the final issues soon.

More than 800 workers of the Velenje mine went on a two-hour token strike last Monday, demanding a stabilisation of the mine's position within the HSE group and an adjustment of their pay to the pay of staff in other HSE firms where the average pay is EUR 4,000.

The miners, who remained without bonuses last year and received a holiday allowance of only EUR 783 gross, moreover demanded that at least the allowance be paid out that is guaranteed in the collective bargaining agreement.

They moreover insist that contracts with Šoštanj be renegotiated as the current coal price makes it impossible to break even or to raise the low wages of miners.


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