MOSCOW, JULY 8 -- Coal miners said today that they will stage a one-day strike this week to warn Communist Party leaders not to take workers' support for granted, rejecting a party appeal to stay on the job.
"How can we accept anything from the party that we are fighting against?" asked Vladimir Minenko, a strike committee leader in the largest Soviet coal region, the Ukraine's Don River basin, or Donbass.
"We do not accept appeals coming to us from the party congress," he said. The 28th Communist Party Congress, currently in the midst of 10 days of debates in Moscow, made the appeal in a resolution passed last week.
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev appealed again late today for the miners not to take what he called "an illegal path."
"Everybody should understand that this is not the time for ultimatums," Gorbachev said in a Soviet television interview.
Despite the Kremlin appeal, anger and defiance were growing among miners in the Donbass, the Kuznetsk basin of western Siberia and Vorkuta in the Arctic.
Miners interviewed by telephone said most shafts in Vorkuta and Donetsk would strike. Official media carried similar reports. The miners plan to send only skeleton shifts into the shafts Wednesday morning and stage demonstrations.
Gorbachev said the miners "want to signal us to move more quickly on restructuring. We received this signal."
Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov, standing next to Gorbachev during the interview, said the government was giving mine regions 30 percent more resources this year than last and will issue new plans this week to help the miners.
Although the miners had initially sought to press economic demands on the government, its primary interest appears to have shifted to formation of a free labor union in mid-August.
At a preliminary conference last month, miners from around the nation scheduled a congress to found the union and called for a mass exodus of party workers and the nationalization of party assets.
The government last week announced it was extending miners' vacations by about half, up to 50 days a year. That did not satisfy the miners, who want the government to keep promises it made a year ago to end a crippling coal walkout.
The miners, who work in shafts owned by the Ministry of the Coal Mining Industry, struck last July to demand that the government increase supplies of meat, soap, detergent and other consumer goods.
They also wanted safer working conditions in the mines, where about 600 people are killed by accidents yearly, and control of the coal fields by local authorities.
Faced with the most massive Soviet strike in 72 years, the Council of Ministers capitulated. But miners say the government has not kept its promises.
The newspaper Rabochaya Tribuna reported Saturday that coal production in the Donbass has fallen and "working conditions on the coal faces have worsened. There are more cave-ins and fires" than last year, the report said.
The number of families waiting for housing has risen from 78,678 to 80,000 since last year, "and they are building fewer houses than three or four years ago," it said.