Ukrainian coal miners rally to demand bigger share of state funds

Dozens of Ukrainian coal miners demonstrated Thursday in central Kiev to demand a bigger share of state funds for Ukraine's mining industry. The protesters wearing orange hard hats said they expected their numbers to grow as busloads of miners arrived from eastern Ukraine.

The miners are calling on the government to plunge at least 5.8 billion hryvna (US$1.15 billion; Ђ960 million) into the mining sector next year, well above the 4 billion hryvna (US$800 million, Ђ670 million) planned.

They are also demanding that all back wages be paid. Last week, thousands of miners staged a similar protest in the eastern city of Donetsk.

In August, President Viktor Yushchenko announced his plans to reshape the industry to make it safer. But miners said they have seen no results.

Ukraine has some of the world's most dangerous mines, due to outdated equipment and poor safety standards. Since the 1991 Soviet collapse, nearly 4,300 miners have been killed in mining accidents, reports the AP.


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