Last Friday in Katowice, Krzysztof Tchórzewski the Minister of Energy, ensured that the scope of the hard coal industry reform has not changed. This was his response to the concerns voiced by, among others, mining trade unions over the future of the Polish Mining Group (PGG).
The head of the ministry and his deputy Grzegorz Tobiszowski, as well as CEOs of the biggest coal companies met last Friday in Katowice with the representatives of regional and mining trade unions. The topics included the industry’s current situation, as well as issues pertaining to the energy and climate policy, energy mix and capacity market.
Recently the Solidarity mining trade union wrote two letters to Prime Minister Beata Szydło asking her for a meeting with the mining community.
The union members are concerned about the future of the mining industry and the coal-fired energy sector. They also demand a clear confirmation that the recent press reports on the potential splitting of PGG’s mines between energy companies that own the Group are false. The mining community also wants to discuss a benefit for PGG’s miners, which would compensate for the so-called fourteenth pay that was suspended this year. Talks about wages at PGG are due to start this fall.
“When it comes to the restructuring nothing has changed, there is no splitting (of the PGG – Polish Press Agency), but there are problems related to the current situation,” Tchórzewski said before the meeting with trade unions.
“A new entity has been created, a huge company, two different groups of people need to be united, a new production system needs to be implemented,” the minister enumerated when referring to the fact that the mines of Katowicki Holding Węglowy (KHW) were taken over by PGG last spring. “The company is still under construction,” Tchórzewski added when talking about merging PGG and KHW into a cohesive entity.
When asked about the press reports about the possible staff changes at PGG’s management board, Tchórzewski replied that even “a minister cannot be sure about his position.”
The meetings’ participants also talked about the compensation owed to mining pensioners for the coal allowance that has been recently cancelled. The compensation is PLN 10 thousand and over 235 thousand people are eligible to receive it. A bill that will regulate the issue was published last Thursday and is to be debated by the Sejm next week. The goal is to pay out the compensation already this year. This will cost the budget over PLN 2.3 bn.