Belgian goal miners from the Borinage district staged a mass demonstration outside the National Council of Mines building in Brussels, Mar 7, in protest against the Government decision to speed up the closure of uneconomic pits.
GV. Miners with placards outside building.
SV.PAN. Ditto, showing various placards.
LV. Miners and police.
CU. Miner eats and drinks behind police.
GV. Miners outside building.
EDITORS see also Prod. Nos. 8444/59 - Belgian Miners Learn New Trades and 1536/60 - Bochum Mines Closed Down.
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Background: Belgian goal miners from the Borinage district staged a mass demonstration outside the National Council of Mines building in Brussels, Mar 7, in protest against the Government decision to speed up the closure of uneconomic pits.
The Brussels demonstration follows a protest meeting, Mar 6, at Quaregnon in the Borinage, where Epette Colliery workers have gone on strike in support of the country's 4,000 unemployed miners.
In Belgium, as well as in West Germany, shafts are being closed down and mining installations dismantled in order to combat Europe's formidable coal crisis. Last December, the European Coal and Steel Community's High Authority assumed emergency powers to deal with the Belgian situation. Pithead stocks piled up since 1956 necessitated stringent measures, including the permanent closure of collieries producing 9.5 million tons. Going hand in hand with limited coal imports, this output restriction - to be spread over four years - will cut Belgium's coal extraction capacity by 32%.
A list of 24 pits to be closed has already been announced, more may follow soon. In districts where closures are particularly drastic, the Government hopes to set up new industries. Although many unemployed miners have meanwhile started training for new trades, the ever-rising number of dismissals keeps Belgium's foremost economic problem painfully alive.