Unions: Valea Jiului can produce another miners’ riot at any time

The tragedy in Uricani has unearthed older issues regarding mining activities in Valea Jiului. An impressive amount of the 130,000 people living in the area are, or have been employed in mines, according to ‘Evenimentul Zilei’, almost every family has had at least a casualty in a mining incident. Security issues have been a constant problem, with some of the mines being real time-ticking bombs.
After meeting with IMF members yesterday morning, leaders of the miners’ unions have said Valea Jiului is sitting on a powder keg, urging authorities to take immediate action and pay the miners’ salaries as well as consider means for improving their activity.

According to union leader Adrian Jurca, miners have urged IMF representatives to request immediate action from Bucharest authorities. “We have explained we are in dire need of a restructuring plan, we need government intervention in financing the companies that are part of the Mining Authority (CNH),” Jurca told Mediafax. According to unionists, since January 3 the authority has been working without state support while only 80 percent of the salaries being covered by sold output.

“This is a dramatic issue, in a few days we will be incapable of making any payments, just imagine what could happen if 8,700 people do not receive their wages, they can start a new riot, like the one in 1990,” Jurca concluded. Three of the most important mines in the area, Petrila, Vulcani and Uricani itself are to be closed down in two years’ time, according to the mining sector restructuring project. CNH is currently one of the biggest state debtors with EUR 1 bln arrears. Of the four mines CNH currently owns, three will remain state supported while four others will be transformed in modern energy exploitation centers.
Following the IMF meeting yesterday, National Unions Bloc (BNS) leader Dumitru Costin said a special programme was requested for infrastructure and local community improvement which can be achieved with European money. Also, unionists have asked a debt write-off for all of the arrears which could bring forward new restructuring opportunities. “Writing off these debts should have been done since 2006 and restructuring should have been started from unproductive sectors which must be separated from the sectors that really work,” Costin said.

According to Economy Minister Ion Ariton, a joint ministerial meeting will be held this Thursday aiming to establish a new calendar for the restructuring project, a thing which was requested by the IMF delegation. “We do not want the mining sector to disappear, our intention is to improve it and create new jobs in the system but in the meantime we intend to cut off unproductive sectors,” Minister Ariton said.

In a reaction to recent events, PSD leader Victor Ponta indignantly commented on how “people lose their lives in mines while the government throws away millions of euros on Elena Udrea’s cable car projects.

Related posts

Hungarian Revolution Day celebrated in several cities in Romania

Nine O' Clock

NGOs rebuke gov’t over draft pension law


Bucharest – Brasov trains, delayed by thieves

Nine O' Clock

Leave a Comment