“When the world’s media was still focusing on Chile, President Piñera committed to reform Chile’s weak mine safety laws within 90 days, and to ratify the International Labour Organisation Convention on safety in mines. Nothing has changed yet, and Chile’s miners are still facing unacceptable risks to their health and safety?” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.
In an appeal for international support to press Chile to do what the President promised, the General Secretaries of the International Chemical, Energy and Mineworkers’ Federation, Manfred Warda, and of the International Metalworkers’ Federation, Jyrki Raina, have called on Chile to adopt the key UN regulation, ILO Convention 176.
“Convention 176 can and will provide the framework for revising the mine safety laws in Chile,” they say in a letter to the global union movement seeking support for the campaign. “It is a universal fact that when the union voice is part of monitoring mine safety, the risks in mining get reduced dramatically. This convention makes union involvement through safety committees an inherent part of the process.”
“On several occasions, President Piñera has highlighted the importance of ensuring sustainable development in Chile, recognising the fundamental role of workers and inspired by the courage, solidarity and vision shown by the 33 trapped miners,” said Burrow. “Sustainable development cannot become a reality in Chile without a comprehensive mine safety culture that includes respect for the rights of mine workers to union representation and genuine dialogue to bring urgently-needed reform.”