Unions at Paskov mine on strike alert

Unions at the Paskov mine, which is slated for closure before the end of the year, have gone on strike alert over the lack of a social programme to help laid-off miners. Paskov belongs to the OKD mining company which is in severe financial difficulties and has announced the planned closure of three mines. Paskov currently has 1,700 workers. Unions say that a social programme must be on the table by April and should include requalification courses for miners ahead of dismissal, the possibility of some of them being transferred to other mines and severance pay depending on the number of years in service. The Czech government has refused OKD a bailout package, saying it will focus on helping laid-off employees. However the various forms of government assistance are also in the pipeline.