Posts Tagged ‘miners’

Child labor common in Mexican mines

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Charges made before UN International Labor Organization

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for June 13. See original here. Pasta de Conchos, in the northern state of Coahuila, is the site of a coal mine in which an explosion in 2006 killed 65 miners. See more on the Pasta de Conchos mine here.]

Mexico City – Carlos Rodríguez Rivera, a member of the Organización Familia Pasta de Conchos (Pasta de Conchos Family Organization), submitted a charge to the [United Nations] International Labor Organization (ILO) that child labor in mines “for the purpose of lowering production costs” is common in Mexico.

While taking part in the World Day Against Child Labor, he explained that in the so-called pocitos [small pits] at coal mines children and youths who have not reached adult height are very useful because they can move through narrow spaces.

In addition, Rodríguez Rivera said, because of the shape of the mines it is easy to hide them when inspectors from the Secretariat of Labor appear and, of course, it is cheaper to hire them because they are paid less than adults.

Evidence of this is the case of 14-year-old Jesús Fernando Lara, who survived an accident in Pocito Tres of the Beneficios Internacionales del Norte mining operation in Sabinas, Coahuila, last May 3.

The young man, who has just turned 15, had one of his arms amputated as a result of the accident. In addition, they have proof that he was no longer studying mining as an occupation and that he was being paid 900 pesos a week.

Rodríguez Rivera also referred to the Ferber case, in which a mine was inspected in 2009. Several under-age miners worked there three years before being registered with social security at the age of 19.

He reported that the Organización Familia Pasta de Conchos has identified at least six locations inspected last year by the Secretariat of Labor and Social Security in which 15 youths between 14 and 17 years of age worked.

Carlos Rodríguez Rivera commented that all of this constitutes a flagrant violation of  ILO Convention 182, which Mexico has ratified.

Chile: Bosses ignored miners’ warnings

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Workers had asked to leave mine three hours before collapse

[Translation of an article from La Tercera of Santiago, Chile, for October 19, 2010. See original article here.]

by Carlos Verguera and Ivonne Toro

To speak of coincidence and surprises does not fit well with this story. One of the 33 miners, military veteran Juan Illanes, from Chillán, has declared that at 11 in the morning of Thursday, August 5, three hours before the collapse that burried him and his workmates alive for almost 70 days, they notified those in charge at Minera San Esteban that the rumbling in the mine was louder than usual.

And further, according to Illanes they asked for permission to be taken to the surface, which was denied them, specifically by the mine’s manager of operations, Carlos Pinilla.

Illanes’s accusations, made to Congressman Carlos Vilches, a member of the chamber of deputies investigating committee, convinced him to contact several other members of the group to ask that they testify before congress. (more…)

Mexico: Labor leader calls for punishment for “corporate murder” of miners

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Gómez Urrutia says rescue of Pasta de Concho miners would have been easier than

rescue in Chile

Napoleón Gómez Urrutia

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for October 15.  See original article here and related article here.  Following an explosion in February, 2006, that killed 65 miners in the Pasta de Conchos coal mine in Coahuila, in northern Mexico, the Mexican secretary of labor withdrew official recognition of miners’ union president Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, who had been sharply critical of the government and of the mine owners, Grupo México, over safety violations.  Gómez, who had also been criminally charged with misappropriation of union funds, fled the country for Canada, where he has lived ever since.  With strong support from inside and outside the country, the union and family members have campaigned vigorously for retrieval of the miners’ remains and compensation for the families.]

By Patricia Muñoz Ríos

The explosion in the Pasta de Conchos mine in Coahuila, in which 65 workers were killed, was an industrial homicide for which no one has yet been punished. No criminal charges have been lodged against the guilty parties nor has the owner of the Grupo México consortium, Germán Larrea,  faced a jail sentence, for which reasons the case, now stalled in the federal courts,  should be re-opened.

This is the opinion expressed in a telephone interview by miners’ union leader Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, who added that “the lesson Chile taught Mexico” with the rescue of the 33 miners forces us to point out that behind the disaster that occurred in Pasta de Conchos in February, 2006, the company, with the complicity of the Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social (STPS – Secretariat of Labor and Social Security), evaded the demands of family members that the workers or their remains be retrieved.

Nor did Grupo México give  just compensation to the widows and orphans of the deceased, even though it brought in profits of 2.6 billion dollars during that year. (more…)

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Dominican Republic: Worker protests continue at Barrick Gold mine

Friday, August 27th, 2010

[Translations of two articles from Listín Diario of Santo Domingo for August 26. The Canadian company Barrick Gold, the largest gold mining company in the world, with operations in a number of countries, is, since 2007, the majority owner of the oldest European gold mining operation in the Americas, near Cotuí, in the Cibao region of the Dominican Republic, which Spaniards began exploiting in 1505. The operation has been the target of determined protests by miners, area farmers and their supporters as well as environmentalists. See also “Barrick Gold mine workers begin protest” posted here on June 9.]

Barrick Gold workers strike for wages due

By Andrés Vásquez

Pueblo Viejo, Cotuí – Workers injured by birdshot, burning tires, trees overturned and traffic at a standstill were the results of protests by employees of the Barrick Gold mining enterprise demanding payment in full of wages to dismissed fellow workers.

During the protests Apolinar Reinoso, Rafael Antonio Ramírez and Serafín Felipe de los Santos were injured with birdshot to several parts of their bodies fired by Cotuí police officers trying to restore vehicular traffic to the mine and to Santo Domingo via Cotuí. (more…)

Storming of the mine in Cananea, Mexico: “Nothing peaceful about it”

Friday, June 11th, 2010

United Steelworkers charge Calderón brought on “reign of terror”

[Translation of an article from La Jornada for June 8. See also “Mexican authorities retake Cananea mine,” posted here on June 7, and “Pasta de Conchos mine sealed,” posted on June 8.]

by Arturo Cano

Cananea, Sonora, June 7
—Manny Armenta saw it with his own eyes: the dislodgement at the Cananea mine was not peaceful, as the secretariat of the interior had claimed. “I was one of those who urged people to retreat to the union hall; there were women, children, many young people. The police went in to fire tear gas and the people had to leave through the windows.”

In the nearby funeral parlor, more testimony is added. The dead man was left alone because his relatives, their eyes full of tears, had to leave because of the tear gas fired by the federal police. Miners, residents of the town and journalists collected the remnants of the unequal battle like souvenirs: spent cartridges of different calibres, tear gas canisters, metal spheres fired who knows how. On the road leading to the main entrance of the Cananea mine the remains of the battle are rocks on the pavement and two broken windows in an abandoned furniture store, said to be the property of relatives of PANista governor Guillermo Padrés, a native of the area. (more…)

Mexico: Pasta de Conchos coal mine sealed

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Two mothers arrested as remains of 63 workers are left underground

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for May 8.  See also  "Mexican authorities retake Cananea mine" posted here on June 7.]

By Patricia Muñoz Ríos and Leopoldo Ramos

The Familia Pasta de Conchos reports that early yesterday morning, after the violent removal of workers from the Cananea mine, managers of Grupo México also took over the facilities of the number eight mine, where 65 miners died more than three years ago, and that “the state police of Coahuila, in 20 patrol cars, escorted luxury automobiles carrying company representatives” as they entered the facility.

The organization declares that the police arrested two women, the mothers of dead miners, who “were forced into a patrol car with blows and shoving,” for which a complaint will be filed with the Ministerio Público. (more…)

In Peru, police repression of miners’ demonstration leaves at least one dead

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

[Translation of an article from TeleSUR for April 5.]

Generacion photo

Repression by the Peruvian police against a miner’s demonstration in the southern region of Arequipa on Sunday left at least one dead, according to Javier Velásquez, prime minister of that South American country, while leaders of the protest say three died as a result of police action.

The death acknowledged by Velásquez occurred when police attempted to disperse a demonstration in Madre de Dios, in the southeastern jungles of the country, which the miners had staged to protest a government decree. (more…)