In separate incidents on the same day, a staggering total of 23 mine workers were killed and 11 injured in horrific mine accidents in Pakistan’s Balochistan province on 5 May.
According to reports, 16 workers were killed in a mine in the Marwar area when the mine collapsed at the exit point following a methane gas explosion. A private company called Pir Ismael was operating the coal mine, and 25 to 30 workers were believed to at work at the time of the accident.
In an another accident on the same day, seven workers in a state-owned mine run by the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) in the Sur-range area were killed by a mudslide.
Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary, says:
This massacre could have been avoided. During a mission to Pakistan in March, IndustriALL met with the government and urged them to ratify ILO Convention 176 on Safety and Health in Mines.
At the same time, we launched a campaign for health and safety in Pakistani mines. The government must take immediate action to improve mine safety and stop fatal accidents.
Condemning the deaths and protesting against the negligence and apathy of the mine owners and the government, Pakistani trade unions, including IndustriALL affiliate PCMLF, organized protest actions in Quetta the following day.
Trade unions called for immediate action to hold those responsible to account and for appropriate compensation for the victims. The unions also called for strict implementation of mines safety laws and immediate ratification of ILO C176.