Ukraine's Miners Threaten Strike

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian coal miners said they are about to go on strike unless the government comes forward with payments delayed since April, trade unions said.

An underground nuclear explosion in 1979 stopped coal production in the Young Communard coal mine in Ukraine. Workers at the mine have pumped water out of the site every day for the past 31 years.

The nuclear explosion trapped 95 percent of the radioactivity in the mine. Analysts believe radioactive material could contaminate the groundwater if workers stop their activity at the Young Communard mine.

Nikolai Kvach, the head of a miner's trade union in Ukraine, said his members have not been paid since April and are now threatening to go on strike, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.

"There are a few days left until a social explosion at the plant," he said.

Mine operators in Ukraine are struggling to pay employee salaries. Activists are working to pressure prosecutors in Kiev to launch legal action against the operators in an effort to force them to settle their debts.

Source: UPI