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CONDEMN THE DEFAMATION OF NUM SOLIDARITY WITH UKRAINIAN MINERS
The NUM is disturbed by the smears against our union regarding our approach to the conflict in Ukraine. These smears have been promoted mainly by elements on the outskirts of the Labour Movement, sadly some who should know better have been willing to give air to such defamation. We at the NUM have long experience of those who would seek to sow divisions and discredit us and we have proven record of defending ourselves when necessary.
It is shamefully claimed the NUM has joined the camp of our enemies and abandoned our history of working class internationalism. Some even asserting we have crossed into the same camp as fascists and taken the line of NATO. Let us set the record straight.
The NUM has not based its response to the Ukraine crisis on what the British or Russian media tell us, we have not been charmed by the opportunity to sit in their TV studios and accept without question their government's line. Instead we naturally turned to our fellow miners unions with whom we have a friendship stretching back decades, the Trade Union of Coal-Mining Industry (PRUP) and the Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine (NPGU). The very first statement issued by the NUM Executive Committee was clear:
"The NUM supports the international principle of self-determination and expresses its support to our brothers and sisters in the miners' union PRUP, who are calling for all interference from outside Ukraine to stop. The NUM calls for a peaceful resolution to the current issues facing the people of Ukraine and our thoughts are with all the miners' in the Ukraine who we regard as our friends."
During some of the worst fighting in Ukraine we hosted a delegation of miners at the Durham Miners Gala in 2014 that were warmly received - yet our hospitality is now denigrated by assertions they were not miners but national union officials from Kiev. This is untrue, the delegation was from Donbas and the speaker that addressed the Gala was chairman of Dnipropetrovsk branch of PRUP.
The NUM has sent two delegations to Ukraine; we have visited industrial areas, met national union officials, local branches and rank and file miners. We have also met with activists of the wider labour movement. The NUM attended and addressed the joint union congress of Miners of Ukraine on 21 April this year. We are proud to have taken part in a protest by thousands of miners in defiance of riot police at the Parliament in Kiev against pit closures.
Those attacking the NUM seek to question the legitimacy of the Ukrainian trade unions. Yet we have seen with our own eyes that the miners unions are not slavishly following the oligarchs and the government - they are resisting as best they can - pit closures, austerity and anti-union laws. The NUM is being attacked because we support fellow trade unions that appeal for solidarity instead of the armed forces that hold a third of the territory in Donbas. Despite the wishful thinking of some Putin's Russia is not sponsoring a revived 1917 style soviet republic or a Spain of 1936. It is clear the take over in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk area was initiated by rival oligarchs and Russia out of their own vested interests. In those areas the existing labour movement has been suppressed, trade unionists have been kidnapped, tortured and even murdered. This is common knowledge and has been reported to the international trade union movement repeatedly.
Why shouldn't Kellingley and Thoresby have remained open into 2018?
In a report prepared for the NUM and TUC "Merits of UK Coal State Aid Application" it is argued that rather than close Kellingley and Thorseby in 2015 they could remain open until 2018. Other EU member states have and still are benefiting from the fund whilst making a case for extended funding.
"It can be seen that our European competitors are taking a strategic decision to support their coal industry during managed wind down of uncompetitive coal mines, and are providing substantial sums under European State Aid regulations. As an example, Germany’s closure plans are designed to address the social impact of job losses, and specifically to allow sufficient time to enable direct and indirect supply chains to adjust. To date the UK has made little use of state-aid provisions for the sector, either under the previous regulations or current Closure Aid."
The full report can be read here http://www.num.org.uk/uploads/26/1184.pdf
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