Romanian miners call off strike

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The Independent Online
THE ROMANIAN government pulled back from the brink of declaring a state of emergency last night after hours of negotiations between the Prime Minister, Radu Vasile, and the leader of the country's striking miners, Miron Cozma, brought both sides to an agreement.

Thousands of miners, who had been marching on the capital, were boarding buses back to their homes in the Jiu valley, while residents of Bucharest expressed their relief that the pitmen's violent advance on the city had been halted.

Mr Vasile said: "As far as the protest is concerned it has stopped and the miners are going home."

Government officials said that miners' leaders and coal company officials had agreed to present the government with a programme to reduce costs and losses.

In return two mines that were previously closed would resume coal production, but it was unclear to what extent the authorities would meet the miners' other demand, for a 35 per cent increase to salaries already more than twice the monthly average wage of pounds 60.

The agreement came after almost a week of violent clashes between the miners and police, which had threatened the country's stability. On Thursday thousands of miners broke through police lines on the road to Bucharest and 100 policemen were injured.