About 22,000 Belgian miners attended rallies at Paturage and Charleroi, Feb 23. They are on?
About 22,000 Belgian miners attended rallies at Paturage and Charleroi, Feb 23. They are on strike against the Government's decision to close unprofitable mines in the Borinage area.
At the Paturage meeting one speaker said he saw the gradual flight of industry from the area. At the rear of the platform was a banner proclaiming - "The Borinage is in revolt to save its economy against the Government and high finance."
The strike is now entering its second week. Earlier there were attempts at sabotage - cutting signal and telephone cables and blocking railway lines - and in Mons 500 strikers clashed with the police last week. In Paturage several roads are still barred with railway wagons.
Late on Monday evening, Feb 23, miners' leaders and employers went to the Prime Minister's office after talks. The Government has sought consultations with the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community, of which Belgium is a member, to declare a state of crisis and to introduce emergency quotas.
In Britain Scottish mines' leaders appealed to mineworkers in all countries "to rush to the aid of their struggling Belgian comrades". A resolution by the Scottish area executive of the National Union of Mineworkers called on the Miners' International to convene an emergency conference and also appealed for financial and moral support to "bring victory to the Belgian miners."
The effects of the strike are being felt mainly in the Borinage area. The only shops open on Feb. 23 were food stores.