Miners have staged a protest inside Romania’s sole uranium mine, a mine which supplies fuel to the Cernavoda nuclear power plant. The miners are dissatisfied with the difficult work conditions and the low salaries. Negotiations between Crucea miners, Suceava County and Uranium National Company officials failed yesterday, which led to the nearly 300 strikers underground deciding against coming to the surface.
Approximately 300 miners blocked themselves in the Crucea mine, Suceava County, yesterday morning, protesting against the work conditions and the low salaries which, the miners claim, were last raised three years ago. The miners state they will continue their protest for as long as necessary and asked for food and water. Suceava County Prefect Florin Simescu stated for Realitatea TV that the group of miners did not nominate a leader with which negotiations can start. The 300 protesters claim they are determined to stay put, Mediafax informs.The miners complained that their salaries were last hiked in 2009, standing at RON 1,500 after 15 years of work, the sum including bonuses. Crucea mine is the only uranium mine in Romania, as well as the supplier of fuel for the Cernavoda nuclear power plant.The miners started the protest after the National Uranium Company (CNU) informed them that for the time being there are not enough funds for salary hikes. Although CNU general manager Nicu Popa was on the scene when the miners announced they will block themselves inside the mine until their salaries are hiked, he denied the information on camera. The miners are desperate since many of them are the sole bread-earners in large families. Moreover, they complain that working in the uranium mine has left them with numerous diseases and they are discriminated against in hospitals where they are placed in separate wards because of suspected radiation. Negotiations between Crucea miners, Suceava County and Uranium National Company officials failed yesterday, which led to the nearly 300 strikers underground deciding against coming to the surface. Mediafax quoted Mine Energy National Federation leader Marin Condescu as saying that the company proved unable to resolve the salary rise issue raised by strikers. “The people, 283, has decided to keep staying underground, although they are aware that, given this being an uranium mine, they are exposed to a much higher level of radiations than they are during the working program. They won’t come to surface until their demands are met,” the FNME president said.According to Condescu, negotiations were taking place in the context in which the Economy Ministry is yet to approve the company’s 2012 budget of revenues and expenditures.According to a CNU communiqué, negotiations with the miners have started and their demands and needs are fully understood, however today’s economic conditions and budget limits will be kept in mind. Company representatives also pointed out that the payment of salaries is on schedule and the company permanently invested in improving work safety and the health of employees.