Spanish miners mourn six dead co-workers

31.10.2013

Spanish coal miners launched two-day work stoppage on 29 October 2013 after the deadly accident taking away six lives and leaving many more injured happened in a mine in northwest Spain.

IndustriALL and affiliates mourn the terrible loss of the workers’ lives in what is described as the worst mining accident in Spain for the last 18 years, and extend the deepest condolences to the families of perished mineworkers.

The fatal accident occurred on 28 October at the mine of Pozo Emilio del Valle in the north-western Spanish city of Pola de Gordón owned by the company Hullera Vasco Leonesa.

Reportedly eleven miners were working 694 meters underground in the gallery 740 of the coalmine when poisonous firedamp, highly inflammable gas formed in mines by decomposition of coal mainly consisting of methane, quickly spread across the gallery and exploded not leaving people the time to put on their protective masks.

The accident happened only 20 days after other three mineworkers gave their lives in an accident in potash mineshaft near the town of Unterbreizbach in Germany. They also were 700 meters underground when a controlled blast provoked sudden massive release of a big amount of carbon dioxide and did not have enough time to put on their oxygen masks.

"It is unbelievable and unacceptable at this age that miners still lose their lives, even in Spain and Germany," said Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union. "While mourning for Spanish and German colleagues, our global union will continue to champion the struggle for safe mines worldwide".

IndustriALL joins its affiliates in Spain FITAG-UGT, FI-CC.OO. and FI-USO as well as IG BCE in Germany and calls on the authorities to start an urgent investigation into the accidents’ reasons and to take all necessary steps and measures in order to prevent from happening similar tragedies in the future.