Union men from Turów mine and power plant are complaining about the lack of open communication with Polska Grupa Energetyczna. Information about possible changes in the complex functioning isn't passed through official channel. The miners claim that PGE is planning on closing the mine in 2030, that is 14 years earlier than they had announced. In the meantime, in order to tackle the challenges of the Paris Agreement, the mine should operate no longer than until 2024-2028. Longer life of Turów neither has sense from the economic point of view.
A representative of a Self-Governing Miners Trade Union KWB Turów admitted, in a conversation with TVBogatynia, that the workers aren't sure of their future. Information appeared that Turów would operate until 2030 and that 1300 people would be made redundant. Earlier it was said, as per PGE official stand, that power plant and mine would operate until 2044 (PGE is applying for a license to operate until this year).
– Until now, even until February this year, we’ve been convinced that the power production would last until 2050 and that we were supposed to function until we would have run out of our coal deposits, that is until 2044 – Bogumił Tyszkiewicz from KWB Turów said.
The information presented by the union men implies that in Turów only one, new block will be kept and that it will be working with half of its power. What is more, the representatives of trade unions in Turów mine said that coal extraction was on a much smaller scale than earlier planned. This year, no more than 4,5 tonnes of brown coal will be mined.
The representatives of the trade union confirmed as well that there were no new hires in the mine and that there were 300 fewer people employed than in the agreement about full-time employees.
Union men from KWB Turów are complaining about the lack of dialogue with the employer. They got the information about the alleged changes in the mine and plants’ functioning unofficially. The complex’s workers live in a constant uncertainty of their future. The government and PGE, instead of making things clear and admitting that Turów operating for more than 6 years has no economic rationale, are hading the miners in. Thereby, they are making it impossible for the local community to obtain funds for just transformation and are stunting its preparation for necessary changes.
– We know that the world needs to change and that new technologies will have to be implemented, but we can do it only by talking – Andrzej Grzegorowski, from the Engineers and Technicians Trade Union said.
In the meantime, the government cut a deal with the union men from PGG. A preliminary agreement was signed, regarding the schedule for progressive closure of mines.
“The final closure date of PGG is 2049. The government and the miners trade men agreed that some unprofitable mines would be supported by the taxpayers. It still needs to be approved by the European Commission”– we read on the website Forsal.
However, the agreement between government and union men only regards hard coal mining. Turów employees are still in the dark regarding the future of the mine and they are considering protests.
CNN published a documentary “The pandemic was the one chance we had”. It is about four countries that, instead of using the pandemic to make a faster transition into green energy, treated the crisis as a good excuse to finance fossil fuels. Poland is among the infamous four.
“Poland is opposing with all its might to the pleas for quick decarbonization. It is the only country in the EU which refused to commit to climate neutrality by 2050” - we read on the American TV website.
While writing about Poland, the reporters focused on the controversies regarding Turów open-cast. “The power plant Turów must be closed in 2024-2028. Crossing this deadline will make it difficult to limit the rise in the Earth's average temperature. But the PGE Group is focused on continuing the operations of Bogatynia complex until 2044. Currently, a new block of power plant is being built, an investment project worth 3,5 billion zloty (930 million dollars), which will be profitable only if it operates during the whole period planned.
American journalists also pointed to the international conflict around Turów. They highlighted that the Czech government was against the open-cast activity, which drained the water on the Czech side of the border. They also cited Milan Starec, a resident of a near the border village Uheln:
“Wells are drying out. The more the mine is deepened and the closer it is to the border, the more groundwater disappears. People live here who in the XXI century have become deprived of water”.