Chilean Miners: The Real Story

The banner says "70 days without pay or work. Settle up now. Don’t rob us".

"There aren’t 33 of us, there are 300 of us." read one banner at a protest by mineworkers on Sunday October 17.

Whilst the world’s media were filled with the heartwarming story of the saving of the 33 trapped miners at the San José mine another story was going on right behind the cameras. It was largely ignored because it did not fit in with the nauseating orgy of nationalist and religious sentiment surrounding the rescue. The truth is that miners lives in Chile (or China, or anywhere else) are usually worth nothing.

When the San José pit collapsed in August those who escaped were immediately laid off. The company (Compañía Minera San Esteban Primera) which only just re-opened San José because of high world copper prices will now undoubtedly go bankrupt. it is being investigated for its abuses of safety at both of its now closed pits. One manager is already on trial.

The miners are demanding, as they did all through the rescue, that the company pay their wages for September, and the severance pay the law entitles them to. Without it, they cannot take another job. Hence the placard in the photo above.

President Sebastian Pinera who milked the rescue for all it was worth, and who is talking loudly of a “new deal” to give “dignity” to workers, has refused to intervene to help the miners.

Aurora (en)

Aurora is the broadsheet of the ICT for the interventions amongst the working class. It is published and distributed in several countries and languages. So far it has been distributed in UK, France, Italy, Canada, USA, Colombia.