Polish miners attack KGHM guards in pay dispute

WARSAW May 5 (Reuters) – Several hundred miners attacked company security guards with wooden clubs and threw eggs outside the headquarters of mining group KGHM KGHM.WA where CEO Herbert Wirth was meeting union leaders over a pay dispute.

Unions want more than the 4.6 percent rise offered by Europe’s No. 2 copper miner, which sees its profit doubling this year to a record 8.4 billion zlotys ($3.16 billion).

KGHM expects its 18,500 employees’ average monthly salary to exceed 9,000 zlotys, 2.5 times the Polish average, but workers want 300 zlotys a month more. PLWAGE=ECI

“Six security officers have been injured, one has his arm broken and being put in plaster now. We’ve seen clubs and eggs flying, tear gas has also appeared,” company spokesman, Dariusz Wyborski, told TVN CNBC.

Broadcasts from the southwestern city of Lubin showed workers scuffling with guards, breaking glass doors to the building and men punching guards holding riot shields.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk told a news conference later on Thursday that prosecutors would look into the matter.

“Hooligans cannot pretend to be labour union activists. Those who have committed legal offences or crimes will be prosecuted and will not hide behind the banners of labour unions,” Tusk said.

KGHM, which is highly unionised and has a long history of pay disputes, says agreeing to workers’ demands would boost its already-high production costs by over 200 million zlotys.

“We are used to sirens and firecrackers. We thought it would be similar this time, but KGHM has not seen anything like this,” Wyborski said.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/05/poland-protest-idUSLDE7441LK20110505

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