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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Miners Set to Strike Thursday

Coal miners defied last-minute appeals from industry bosses Wednesday and confirmed plans to launch an indefinite nationwide strike on Thursday to support demands to boost state support to the mining regions.

"All regions said today they would support the action," said miners' union leader Vitaly Budko. "I do not expect a 100 percent walk-out, of course, but I'm sure 70 to 80 percent of the industry will be on strike."

Yury Malyshev, general director of the Rosugol state coal-mining monopoly, called on the miners' union leaders to call off the strike or at least postpone it for another 10 days, spokesman Alexander Yakunin said.

Malyshev told the leaders of the regional miners' unions that the government planned to draft and approve a schedule to inject 10.4 trillion rubles ($2.2 billion) for financing the mining industry in 1996 and to allocate 600 billion rubles in January to pay the miners their back wages.

Rosugol warned that halting the mines would have a devastating effect on the national economy, Yakunin said. "We asked them to wait until ... [Prime Minister Viktor] Chernomyrdin gets back from a trip in the U.S. and fixes everything," he added.

But Budko said the workers had not yet received any money and would go ahead with their plans.

A dispatcher at Vorkutaugol, a coal company in the Far North, said the mines would be closed Feb. 1, with no coal shipments to the consumers.

Miners in the Far East also said they would join the action. Their strike committee decided Wednesday in Vladivostok that they would continue to extract coal but make no shipments on Feb. 1 and 2, Anatoly Vasyanovich, director of Primorskugol coal company, told Interfax.

Tens of thousands of teachers in 53 regions across the country began a three-day strike Tuesday to protest over salary arrears. Air traffic controllers say they will decide this week whether to walk out over the issue.

?Miners at 250 Ukrainian pits, most of them in the eastern Donbass region, have called an indefinite strike from Tuesday. Ukrainian miners have gone without pay, amounting to between $50 and $75 a month, since October, Reuters reported.