My last post

bernie wool bernard.wool at
Sat Oct 9 11:32:02 MDT 1999

After sending my last post I received the following from the Durham
National Union of Mineworkers, that may interest anyone following the
'Hot Pursuit' thread

Appeal for international solidarity.

                       Miners’ Trade Union ‘Trepca’ (Kosova)

In Kosova we are now living in a ‘post-war’ period, even though some
paramilitary, military and police groups which  were responsible for
massacring Albanians are still active in different parts of Kosova and
in particular in the miners’ town of Mitrovica.

 The biggest company in Kosova is the ‘Trepca’ company based upon the
rich mineral mines in Kosova.  Under the  constitution of ex- Yugoslavia
this company was ‘social property’ - ie it belonged to its workers.
However all Albanian employees were locked out of their jobs in 1990.

 Throughout these last years our trade union has tried to protect
miners’ property and assert the right of  miners to return to work.  For
several years this protest was directed at the Milosevic regime, now we
have a new problem:  French KFOR (Kosova Force) troops  have occupied
our mines and metal processing plants and  refuse to allow us access.

Over these years the miners have lost everything that we have created by
our work. Our families now have nothing. In the last year 33 members of
our union have been killed, 11 are missing and many of our houses are

 We were hopeful that after the war, with the end of the violence
organised by Milosevic, we would be able to retake control of our mines
and factories, which are our property, and resume work. We have drawn up
plans to resume  production, including drawing up a budget to obtain
necessary machinery etc, but unfortunately the International  Community
does not seem to recognise our rights and is treating us as tenants in
our own property.  Even though we have prepared our plan to restart
production, which would benefit the whole Kosova community, especially
the miners, we are prevented by French KFOR troops from entering the
mine, even to try to ensure that flooding does not occur.

We have held meetings with KFOR and UNMIK (United Nations Mission in
Kosova) but we cannot get any agreement from them.   Therefore on July
27th this year we held a protest demonstration outside the mine with the
slogan ‘Allow us to work and live from our jobs. We are not lazy and do
not want to depend upon outside aid.  The mines are our property.’

Despite our protests we remain locked out. So we want to step up our
protests and for this we need international support and solidarity.  We
are planning more protests marches and if we are not successful we are
prepared, eventually, to start a hunger strike outside the mine gates.

 Our campaign to demand the rights of miners and other workers is not
just for Albanians but for all Trepca employees with the exception of
those who have committed war crimes.

Therefore, we ask you, to contact us by fax or email, to show your
support.  We can then inform you of our plans. Because all
communications in Kosova are damaged we ask you to contact our friends
in UK. fax ++ 44 (0)161 226 0404 email work2 at

If you can help us financially please send donations to Durham National
Union of Mineworkers, PO Box 6, The Miners Hall, Durham. DH1 4BB, UK.
For details of international bank transfer fax ++ 44 (0)191 2330578.

President of miners’ Trade Union
1999                                         Xhafer Nuli

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