21 Nov 2005

Fiji union urges government to protect mine workers

3:13 pm on 21 November 2005

The Fiji Trades Union Congress president and Labour MP, Daniel Urai, says the government should include miners into the occupational health and safety law.

Last week, a worker was killed in the Vatukoula gold mine.

According to a mineworkers' union report it was the fourth such case this year.

Mr Urai says miners are not protected by any law in Fiji.

He says it is the responsibility of the government to create laws and of the operator, Emperor, to improve conditions.

"We have always raised this to the government and the government continues to lament on these lame excuses. So we believe that the mining industry should not be exempted. If at all it is one of the most important industries to be included under the OHS Act, because annually we have people dying in the mines."

He says while the mining company says the mines are safe, the results tell a different story.