Miners worldwide will boycott Pike River: union

Pike River Coal is facing an international boycott unless it defines clear plans to recover the bodies of the 29 men who died underground in November.

Representatives from the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers Unions (ICEM) will be on the New Zealand west coast today and will pay their respects to the miners whose bodies remain trapped when they visit the mine tomorrow.

The assistant national secretary of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union, Ged O’Connell said the ICEM officials are expected to mention the international boycott that is a real possibility if the mine is sold without making recovery a condition of the sale.

"I’m sure the ICEM will be unequivocal on this," he said.
"It’s embarrassing that seven months later we are having a discussion like this.

“What sort of nation is this?"

O’Connell said a boycott would leave the mine "pretty helpless".

Last month, the Australian coalminers’ union urged the New Zealand government to make the recovery of the bodies a condition of sale.

Spokesman for the families Bernie Monk said the families are still desperate for the bodies to be reached.

He said he did not think"they’ve got a mine to sell if they don’t bring the guys out".

"I just hope those people who are buying the mine realise all this," he said.

Some suggestions have been made previously which suggest mining could begin again at Pike River without recovering the men.

Recovery teams finally entered the mine on Tuesday, following numerous delays caused by the unstable toxicity levels underground.

They plan to proceed 100 metres at a time into the mine.

The men are believed to be trapped behind rockfall 2.3 kilometres inside the mine, but receivers have said they can’t afford to recover the bodies.

Repairs on a gas-sample line delayed work on the mine’s temporary seal yesterday.

Mine manager Steve Ellis said the line – one of a dozen into the mine – was sucking in air outside the mine.

The fault was detected yesterday morning and repaired before work continued in the afternoon, with the seal set for completion tomorrow.

Ellis said photographs taken inside the mine this week showed it was in good condition.

Image: The Poch Times

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