A united strike committee is being set up at the Open Joint-Stock Company (OJSC) “Belaruskali”, Radio Liberty was informed by the strike committee of the 4th Mining Department of the Company.
“Belaruskali” miners announced their intention to declare a strike on Friday, August 14. The creation of strike committees at Mining Departments began on Monday August 17. Then, miners voiced out their main demands, including the resignation of Alexander Lukashenko and the holding of new presidential election in Belarus.
In the morning on Tuesday, August 18, the formation of strike committees at all six Mining Departments was completed. The extraction of ore to the surface was stopped.
“Things are going well, each Mining Department has formed its own strike committee,” said one of the members of the strike committee of the 4th Mining Department. “All of them are united in one big strike committee of the Company; it will decide what to do. Today, at our mine, we decided to stop descending underground. Ore doesn’t go up. Some maintenance staff will go down to do some work, but the ore in not extracted. The situation is the same at all industrial sites. The complete stop of ‘Belaruskali’ is now only a matter of time.”
According to the source, the strike committee of the 4th Mining Department in thinking about other forms of protest; one of them is the daily rallies in the city centre.
“At the 4th Mining Department, we have collected over a thousand signatures for the strike, perhaps out of possible 1200. People join when they see how many signatures have been collected. I think we’ll get even more of them. People are very committed. There were small questions about the organization – they couldn’t be coordinated at once. Some people were faint-hearted and began working, although they had joined the strike. But these organizational issues have already been resolved. In the future, everything will go smoothly. Now, miners are in the territory of the Mining Department. We are deciding whether to go to the city at 3 p.m. to show ourselves. This question will still be decided at a meeting of the strike committee. Most likely, tomorrow we will go to work for 8 hours; we need to resolve some issues. The strike committee will decide, but, most probably, at 3 p.m. we’ll go to rallies in the city every day, because when we are here, in the mines, no one will hear or see us.”
As Radio Liberty reported, on August 17, Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko visited Soligorsk. People saw him at the head building of “Belaruskali”. However, he did not appear at a rally in the centre of Soligorsk, where several thousand people gathered, including miners.