Polish coal mining trade unions threaten strike action if Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki does not join ongoing talks on the restructuring of the troubled industry. Unions at Poland’s biggest coal group, state-run PGG, and government representatives have been struggling to work out a restructuring plan for the ailing company, after a proposal by PGG management to close two coal mines was rejected in July.
PGG, hit by falling demand for coal, low prices and the coronavirus, is running out of money. The climate ministry angered unions by announcing an update to Poland’s energy strategy, which contained a faster than expected departure from coal. The unions called the document unacceptable as it would result in closing down most Polish coal mines with the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The unions said Morawiecki should join the negotiations until September 21. “Otherwise, we will be forced to take radical protest actions in the whole region,” they said in a statement. The trade unions are also demanding the government amends its energy strategy, which they want to take into account investment in “low-emission coal energy.” They want the government to restore coal, instead of gas, in a planned power station in Ostroleka, northeast Poland.