India’s mining industry has seen frequent accidents, some with fatal outcomes. According to a report published by Coal India Limited, from 2010 to March 2019, a total of 498 coal miners were killed at work. A staggering 1,660 coal miners were seriously injured.
Rajendra Prasad Singha of HKMF said:
“The deteriorating safety in mines is a serious concern. Unplanned mining, increase in production targets, coal extraction by third parties, a high number of untrained precarious workers, negligence of safety measures by Coal India Limited, and glaring short comings by the government’s safety supervisory agency are some of the reasons behind these avoidable accidents.
“Unions need to work together to improve safety, and we need IndustriALL’s continued support in creating awareness on safety issues and best practices globally.”
On 26 August, 700 union activists rallied at Talcher and submitted a memorandum to the chairperson of the of Mahanadi Coalfields, demanding improved safety measures and that the government immediately ratify ILO C176.
On 28 August, union activists of Eastern Coalfields gathered at Asansol and discussed safety issues.
Participants in both the events decided to:
• intensify campaigns at every mine to address unsafe working conditions
• stop use of sub-standard safety equipment
• ensure availability of safety equipment for all workers, including precarious workers
• take steps to ensure appropriate training for precarious workers
• extend solidarity when precarious workers face safety-related problems
• increase awareness on right to reject the unsafe work
Moving a step further, activists at Eastern Coalfields decided to form a joint union safety team to inspect and monitor safety standards. Unions will also continue to support the campaign for the ratification of ILO C176.
Apporva Kaiwar, IndustriALL South Asia regional secretary said:
“IndustriALL affiliates’ efforts to address safety issues are crucial. Building unity around safety issues and the campaign to ratify ILO C176 will contribute to the wellbeing of coal miners in India.”
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