With the horrific mine accident that killed six workers in the Kalat district in Balochistan on 4 April 2018, at least 11 workers at mines in different parts of Pakistan have died since the end of March.
The deadly mine safety crisis continues to claim workers’ lives in Pakistan. Six workers were reportedly killed on the night of 4 and 5 April after an explosion at a coalmine in the Sorab area of Kalat released a poisonous gas, suffocating workers to death.
Quoting the Chief Inspector of mines of mining department of Balochistan provincial government, a news report stated that the mine was operated illegally without the required license from the government.
On 1 April, an explosion at the Ali Mines in Jhelum District triggered a roof collapse, trapping six workers under the debris. According to reports from IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, All Pakistan Federation of United Trade Unions, two workers were rescued but the other four workers died in the incident. The deceased workers included Rehmatullah, Sabir Rehman and two brothers, Naseebzada and Naseebullah, all hailing from the Shangla district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
IndustriALL affiliate, the Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation, reported that, on 27 March 2018, one coal worker Faiz Ullah was killed, while another worker Ubaid Ullah was rescued with serious injuries in a mine accident at the Sharigh Coal Mine area.
Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL director for the mining said:
“We are shocked at the apathy and negligence towards safety in Pakistan’s mining sector. Within a span of ten days, the deaths of 11 mineworkers shows that neither the government nor the mine owners are serious about safety. To stop the recurrence of fatal accidents, Pakistan must act swiftly to improve safety in mines, strengthen supervisory mechanisms and punish those responsible for the accidents. The government should also work together with workers’ representatives to improve the situation.”
On 15 March 2018, IndustriALL along with its affiliates in Pakistan launched a campaign for health and safety in Pakistan mines and called on the government of Pakistan to immediately ratify and implement ILO Convention 176 on safety and health in mines.