Jan LadziÅ„ski reports on a solidarity picket outside the London HQ of the oligarchs who are refusing to pay Ukrainian miners a decent wage.
On Friday afternoon there was a solidarity picket outside the offices of EVRAZ, the company in charge of Kryvyi Rih coal mines. EVRAZ is owned by Russian oligarchs: Roman Abramovich, Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov have controlling shares. The miners have been engaged in a dispute with the company after it had failed to give them a promised 20% pay rise. The Kryvyi Rih miners earn only some £260 per month on average, and wages have been falling in real terms.
The picket was a small but lively event with a variety of groups represented, including the Anarchist Federation. Chants included “death to the oligarchs” (in Ukrainian) and when the police arrived, they were asked whether they came for the oligarchs. (Unfortunately they were there for the picket.)
The police explained that the office in London is only a subcontractor of EVRAZ “dealing with their administrative work”, which simply underlines the fact that Abramovich and other Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs often use the City of London for “tax avoidance”. EVRAZ itself pays no tax in Ukraine.
We decided to continue picketing the offices in the future as this is where EVRAZ’s money really is, even if the company is only a subcontractor on paper.
There was also a solidarity picket by United Steelworkers in Canada outside EVRAZ steel in Regina. The Vice President of Canadian steel operations approached the workers directly, and a statement was released from EVRAZ North American head office in Chicago in the USA.
There will be another picket of EVRAZ at their AGM at Chelsea FC at 11am Thursday 12 June.