President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy stresses the need to create a National Coal Regions Fair Transformation Program, which will envisage re-training and new jobs for miners, address the issue of access to education for the children of miners, and set up services in mining towns.
Speaking at the All-Ukrainian Meeting of Coal Industry Workers of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the key value was people, thus, the reform of the coal regions should be fair.
According to the Head of State, such changes are long-lasting and the country will need coal during this period. However, the state must gradually create socio-economic opportunities for the development of coal regions.
“For this purpose, the Ministry for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine will elaborate a National Coal Regions Fair Transformation Program. Its main principle is that no mine can be closed or eliminated until people get a new job - safe and with decent payment. First, new jobs for these people. And then we start talking about something else,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The implementation of the program should also solve the problem of access to education for miners' children by creating a scholarship fund.
The President recalled that he had recently visited the Mezhyrichanska mine in the Lviv region, and the miners had complained that the local school had been in dire straits. During the meeting, the Head of State commissioned Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Minister of Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine Denys Shmygal to ensure the renovation of the school by September 1.
He also stressed the need to audit the conditions of other schools in the mining regions.
According to the President, the National Program should also focus on the care of the aged, in particular the early retirement and development of modern infrastructure and services in the mining towns.
In addition, Volodymyr Zelenskyy supported the proposal of the industry representatives to set up a State Committee on Coal Industry.
The President stressed that the Minister of Infrastructure should pay special attention to the repair of roads in small mining settlements.
The Head of State also appealed to Deputy Prime Minister Denys Shmygal to consider the possibility of organizing working trips to the mining towns in order to study their situation.
Participants of the meeting - representatives of the enterprises of the industry addressed the President with problematic issues and requests for their solution. Volodymyr Zelenskyy was given a list of issues that the miners believe needs to be addressed.