"Invalid miners in shock as Yanukovich removes their benefits
More than 500 invalid miners protested in the central square of Pavlograd [a town just to the east of Dnipropetrovsk] against cabinet of ministers' plans to reduce their benefit payments in the 2007 state budget.
According to the miners, the planned 2007 budget will seriously reduce these benefits, and completely abolish such benefits to miners when
they reach the age of 60.
These benefits have been paid out since 1992; and they range from 1 to 2 thousand hryven depending on disability and length of employment.
In total, in the western Donbass today there are 11,000 disabled miners who obtain these benefits.
According to the Deputy Chairman of the Union of invalid miners of Ukraine, Nikolai Tkachenko, "People are infuriated by the behavior of the government. The've chopped what we obtained so far. We will have to subsist on beans, there'll be no money for medicines, there'll be no money for food supplements, nor for recuperation", he said.
Tkachenko noted that practically all these men suffer from silicosis, bordering on tuberculosis. Therefore it is not only drugs that are necessary, but also dietary supplements.
The protesters have directed a resolution to the supreme rada, to the cabinet of ministers, and also to the President of the Ukraine Victor Yushchenko.
According to the miners, they have most hope for the support of the president - they are convinced he will not sign a budget with reduced social payments."
In eastern Ukraine some people are beginning to get annoyed because the PoR-led government is not delivering on their March 2006 VR election slogan: "An improvement in your lives, now today."
There are massive utility and communal charge increases on the way too..It is up to the opposition parties to pick up the banner and speak up for these people, but NSNU in particular are more interested in their own internal political squabbling.