23 January, 2014On Thursday 9 January, a cable in a pool of water caused a short circuit inside the La Platosa mine owned by Excellon Resources in Mexico. This negligence left two workers dead and three with serious injuries from the burns they received.
Following this serious accident, the National Miners’ Union, affiliated to IndustriALL, issued a statement saying: “The Canadian company Excellon Resources is responsible for this tragedy. It has systematically and stubbornly refused to hold a civilised dialogue with its workers and, in response to their claims that they do not enjoy freedom of association, it uses every possible means to stop them joining the National Miners’ Union, as they would like to do”.
The workers who lost their life are Jorge Antonio Valentín Carrillo, 25, and Evaristo Soto Nava, 35. The injured, who are in a grave state according to the doctors treating them in a hospital in the town of Gómez Palacios, Durango, are Andrés Cháirez, Juan Pablo González Saucedo and Julián (or Uriel) Calderón.
“The Miners’ Union holds the Canadian company responsible, because it maintains an arrogant attitude to the needs of workers and the peasants of the La Sierrita community, denying them any chance of an honourable agreement in return for leasing their lands, which it uses for its mining operations”.
The United Steelworkers (USW), the Canadian union that has been supporting members of the community and members of Section 203 of the miners’ union for three years, has expressed its exasperation that only days after the workers died, the company showed itself to be completely insensitive and inconsiderate towards the memory of the dead workers and the pain felt by their families by issuing a press release boasting about its high production figures and profits.
IndustriALL Global Union regrets the loss of life of the workers and offers its sincerest condolences to their families, who have suffered this painful loss. It also stresses that these accidents could have been avoided by greater supervision and better security. It calls on the authorities to put an end to the violation of labour rights in the field of health and safety.
IndustriALL and the USW express their concern at the Mexican National Point of Contact’s refusal to discuss the observations about the Canadian company presented to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2013. The death of the workers at La Platosa shows that many of the companies questioned about their abuses of human rights are inclined to prioritise production to the detriment of safety.
It therefore unfortunately remains unclear as to whether the company will conduct an adequate investigation into the circumstances and the negligence that caused the death of the two workers, especially as the Excellon mine has a protection union that works hand in hand with the state and federal governments and the company.