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IndustriALL calls on Ukrainian government to enforce health and safety in mines

15 June, 2017Miners in Ukraine continue to endanger themselves going down the pit. Four miners, members of IndustriALL affiliate the Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine, were seriously injured in an explosion on 12 June. IndustriALL supports Ukrainian trade unions in their demands to improve health and safety at enterprises without delay.

On 12 June, there was the methane explosion in the mine Novodonetskaya in the Donetsk region. 122 miners were in the mine at the time of accident, 29 of them in the affected section.
The president of the Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine Mychailo Volynets stated:

"Sad morning for our miners' family. Four miners were burned and seriously injured. Three of them had 50-60 per cent of their body burned; one had 15 per cent of his body burned. Now they are in Kramatorsk in the Burn centre. Doctors gave optimistic predictions about miners' health".

A special commission was formed to investigate the accident in the mine. This commission includes representatives of the trade unions, the administration of mine, the State Labour Inspectorate, and the Social Insurance Fund.
Previously, on 9 June, a miner died from electric shock at the mine Velikomostovskaya in Lviv region. On 6 June, there was a collapse of rocks at a mine Oktyabrskaya in Kryvyi Rih that caused the death of one more miner.
All these accidents once again confirm that the health and safety situation in the majority of enterprises is close to emergency. They have particular importance because they happened while the ILO Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) was considering compliance by Ukraine with ILO conventions No. 81 On Labour Inspection and No. 129 On Labour Inspection in Agriculture.

Speaking at the CAS hearing, Suzanna Miller of IndustriALL said:

"In the majority of enterprises the miners work on obsolete equipment without the necessary Personal Protection Devices, which leads to explosions in the mines, death and severe injuries  to the workers. How much longer will workers bear this?"

On 12 June, the CAS urged the government of Ukraine not to impose any restrictions on the labour inspection and to train and to improve the skills of labour inspectors.
Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary said:

“Such accidents at mines are essentially crimes against the miners. IndustriALL Global Union supports the demands of our Ukrainian affiliates on the basis of the report submitted to the CAS at the ILO. It is vital to assure that a proper state programme on developing measures of health and safety, including setting up solid bodies with highly skilled staff, should be approved and financed by Ukrainian government in 2017 and in the following years.”