23 May, 2022More workers have lost their lives in Pakistan’s deadly coal mines. According to IndustriALL affiliate PCMLF, in May alone, 18 miners have been killed at work.
On 19 May, a miner fell through a roof and died at work in the Ghazi mine.
Just two days later, on 21 May, a worker was electrocuted in the Duki coal field, and a landslide killed another miner in the same field. And on 22 May, three miners were injured in a gas blast in a mine belonging to Shakot Charat Coal Company.
And importantly, the hazardous conditions are made worse by an inherent neglect of workers’ safety by both mining companies and state authorities.
“There is an urgent need to health and safety in our coal mines and we appreciate the steps taken by IndustriALL Global Union to improve working conditions in Pakistan’s mines,”
says Sultan Khan, PCMLF president.
“The poor working conditions pose a real threat to workers’ lives and we need assistance in training, organizing and awareness raising activities for our workers.”
PCMLF estimates that Pakistan’s coal mining sector employs more than 100,000 workers in 400 coal mines. Miners usually start working at the age of 13. By the time they reach 30, they are forced into unemployment due to chronic respiratory illnesses, tuberculosis, loss of eyesight, and injuries.
Poverty and a lack of job opportunities force people to start working in the mines. Workers are often forced to work for more than ten hours a day without adequate safety equipment, in violation of Pakistan’s labour laws. When accidents occur, the first respondents are usually other workers in the mine, as there is no access to well-equipped emergency response teams.
IndustriALL mining and health and safety director Glen Mpufane says:
“The situation in Pakistan’s coal mines is desperate and safety standards must be implemented to stop the continuing loss of lives. IndustriALL is calling on Pakistan’s government to ratify ILO Convention 176 on safety and health in mines.”