Mining workers

No justice for families 10 years after New Zealand’s Pike River mine disaster

By Tom Peters, 20 November 2020

Despite the Labour government’s promises to investigate the explosion which killed 29 men, no one from Pike River Coal has been held accountable for blatantly unsafe practices that put profit ahead of lives.

Costa Rican workers protest IMF austerity talks; Two Haitian students die in jobs protests

Workers Struggles: The Americas

13 October 2020

Workers set up road blocks across Costa Rica over government talks with the IMF while at least two university students in Haiti have died during protests over lack of job openings for graduates.

One-day nationwide strike against South African ANC government

By Jean Shaoul, 9 October 2020

The mass walkout is part of a broader wave of struggles by workers in recent months that have seen repeated actions by healthcare workers, municipal workers, bus drivers, teachers and workers in meat processing plants, steel works and warehouses.

Former coal boss Robert Murray, who fought coal-dust standards, files for black lung benefits

By Samuel Davidson, 3 October 2020

Former mining company executive Robert Murray, notorious for opposing mine safety standards, is now seeking black lung benefits.

Ukrainian miners strike for better pay and conditions in defiance of the unions

By Jason Melanovski, 1 October 2020

Workers at the Krivoy Rog Iron Ore Company are carrying out a courageous strike in defiance of the union that puts them into direct conflict with the country’s entire ruling class.

Australia’s Queensland Labor government suspends public hearings of Grosvenor Mine disaster inquiry

By Terry Cook, 28 September 2020

Like other government-initiated inquiries into industrial disasters, the inquiry was called to hose down widespread public outrage in the wake of the mine explosion.

Peru reopens economy as thousands of miners contract COVID-19

By Mauricio Saavedra, 11 August 2020

With 478,024 coronavirus cases, Peru has the third most infections in Latin America, and with over 21,000 fatalities, it has the highest per capita death toll in the region.

ArcelorMittal lays off hundreds of steelworkers in Indiana, Ohio

By George Gallanis, 4 August 2020

The layoffs in Indiana and Ohio are part of an ongoing global assault on steelworkers’ jobs.

Consol cuts 233 jobs as US coal production falls to 1973 levels

By Samuel Davidson, 31 July 2020

A wave of layoffs swept the industry even before the pandemic, but the economic collapse over the last several months has spurred mining companies to accelerate their attacks on jobs.

Safety expert removed from Australia’s Grosvenor Mine explosion inquiry

By Terry Cook, 23 July 2020

The Queensland state Labor government’s inquiry is shaping up to become another cover-up of how safety is subordinated to the companies’ ruthless drive for profits.

New Zealand aluminium smelter to close, axing 1,000 jobs

By John Braddock, 15 July 2020

The smelter’s closure is part of the escalating attack on jobs and livelihoods among major sections of the workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 170 killed in accident at Myanmar jade mine

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 July 2020

The disaster has highlighted the perilous conditions confronting oppressed miners in the industry, which provides large profits to sections of the country’s military-dominated regime.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian coal miners launch three-day strike against privatisation

By Arun Kumar, 3 July 2020

Facing an economic crisis that has been greatly exacerbated by the pandemic and the ruling elite’s selfish class response, the Modi government is pushing through a “quantum jump” in pro-investor “reforms.”

Coronavirus pandemic in Poland: Silesian miners sacrificed for profit

By Bartosz Wyspianski and Martin Nowak, 16 June 2020

Nearly every day, almost half of the new infections in Poland can be found in Silesia.

Australian inquest says “grossly deficient” safety caused death of Anglo American mine worker

By Terry Cook, 4 June 2020

The coronial inquest into the Grasstree Mine workers’ death in 2014 is a damning indictment of Anglo American safety standards.

Australian unions enforce continued mining production throughout pandemic

By Terry Cook, 11 May 2020

Local authorities in mining regions have warned that the continued operations of the sector threaten outbreaks of COVID-19.

Australian mine explosion leaves five workers with horrific injuries

By Terry Cook, 9 May 2020

Four miners are fighting for life and another sustained serious injuries in a gas explosion at an Anglo American mine in central Queensland.

Miners with black lung face COVID-19 danger as US mines continue operations

By Samuel Davidson, 28 April 2020

Those with pneumoconiosis face almost certain death if COVID-19 continues to spread through the Appalachian mining region.

Australia: Worker presumed dead in Tasmanian mine collapse

By Terry Cook, 29 January 2020

If the miners’ death is confirmed, it will be the fifth mining fatality in western Tasmania in just six years.

Kentucky miners blockading coal shipments win backpay

By Douglas Lyons, 22 January 2020

The miners had not been paid since December 27 and were owed between $2,000 and $3,000 each.

Asarco strike poses need for unity of US and Mexican copper miners

Real internationalism vs. the United Steelworkers’ partnership with Los Mineros

By Jessica Goldstein and Jerry White, 20 January 2020

The copper and metal mining industry is dominated by global corporations, posing the need for workers to develop an international strategy to fight.

Another Kentucky coal company refuses to pay miners

By Samuel Davidson, 9 January 2020

Following the pattern of Blackjewel, Perry County Coal Company has refused to give miners their final paycheck and money for unused vacation days.

“They treat us like cavemen. They don’t care if we live or die.”

Striking Arizona copper miners determined to continue fight

By Evan Blake and Jerry White, 30 December 2019

On strike for 11 weeks against Asarco LLC, the miners have shown great determination in the face of a virtual blackout by the mainstream media and pro-corporate unions.

Asarco copper miner strike in Arizona and Texas in danger

By Jerry White, 20 December 2019

As the strike by nearly 2,000 copper miners enters the third month everything depends on workers breaking the isolation of the struggle by the United Steelworkers and other unions.

Australia: Governments, unions responsible for spate of deaths in Queensland mining industry

By Robert Campion, 12 December 2019

The dangerous conditions are a result of the gutting of safety measures and the wholesale destruction of full-time employment throughout the sector.

Strike against Asarco copper enters second month

By Samuel Davidson, 16 November 2019

The strike by 2,000 copper miners in Arizona and Texas against massive concessions demands has entered its second month, while the United Steelworkers seeks to isolate and betray the strike.

As Asarco copper workers continue their fight, unions isolate their struggle

By Jessica Goldstein, 25 October 2019

The unions are attempting to put maximum pressure on workers by providing totally inadequate strike pay and other support, forcing many to seek public assistance.

United Steelworkers prepare betrayal of Asarco strike

By Jessica Goldstein, 22 October 2019

The United Steelworkers is colluding along with other unions and the company to wear down the resolve of the workers on strike against Asarco through isolation and poverty.

United Steelworkers, unions keep striking Asarco mineworkers in the dark

By Jessica Goldstein, 18 October 2019

Mineworkers at Asarco have immense support from their brothers and sisters in the working class who are willing to fight with them, but the United Steelworkers, Teamsters and other unions are determined to keep them isolated.

2,000 Asarco mineworkers go on strike in Arizona and Texas

By Samuel Davidson and Jessica Goldstein, 15 October 2019

The strike by Asarco copper miners in the US is part of a growing movement that includes miners and key sections of transport, service and industrial workers across the globe.

Australia: Northern Territory worker killed in preventable open-cut mine disaster

By Jason Wardle, 24 September 2019

Dangerous working conditions and lax safety regulations in the Northern Territory has led to workplace fatalities being three times higher than the Australian national average.

Hundreds attend viewing for young miner fatally crushed in Pennsylvania coal mine

By Samuel Davidson, 6 September 2019

Tanner Lee, who leaves behind a wife and 2-year-old son, is the latest victim of the gutting of mine safety regulations in the drive for production and profits.

Twenty-five-year-old miner crushed to death in Pennsylvania coal mine

By Samuel Davidson, 2 September 2019

Tanner Lee McFarland was killed Thursday evening when part of the wall and roof in the area of the mine he was working collapsed, crushing him under tons of coal and rock.

Harlan County, Kentucky workers support coal miners’ blockade

By Samuel Davidson, 23 August 2019

Miners blocking shipments of coal from a bankrupt mine have the backing of other workers and residents in eastern Kentucky

“It’s not just miners, but all blue-collar workers, like the teachers, who have been mistreated too”

Blackjewel miners in Kentucky vow to continue fight against coal operator

By a WSWS reporting team, 16 August 2019

Two miners who have played a prominent role in the blockade of the coal train in Cumberland, Kentucky, spoke to the WSWS about their struggle to obtain back pay from the bankrupt coal company.

Kentucky coal miners continue protest as Blackjewel assets auction proceeds

By Naomi Spencer, 7 August 2019

The determined resistance of the miners in Harlan County, Kentucky, has demonstrated once again that the dividing line in America is class, not race or ethnicity.

Kentucky miners block train tracks for sixth day demanding back pay

By Samuel Davidson, 3 August 2019

Out-of-work coal miners are now in their sixth day of blocking railroad tracks, preventing the bankrupt Blackjewel LLC from moving coal out of the Harlan County, Kentucky, mine where they worked.

Australia: Six Queensland mining deaths in 12 months

By Patrick Davies, 30 July 2019

The tragedies are a result of the gutting of full-time jobs and the erosion of working conditions, enforced by the trade unions.

Unpaid Kentucky Blackjewel miners block coal train to demand wages

By Naomi Spencer, 30 July 2019

After weeks without work or pay from the bankrupt company, miners blocked the removal of coal from an idled Blackjewel mine in Harlan County, Kentucky.

US coal giant Blackjewel, LLC and affiliates declare bankruptcy

By Zachary Thorton, 23 July 2019

Another coal giant has declared bankruptcy, leaving devastation in its wake as hundreds of workers are out of work and owed thousands of dollars in unpaid wages.

Australian construction workers facing massive fines for striking

By Terry Cook, 26 April 2019

The Australian Building and Construction Commission has launched legal action against workers involved in a short work-stoppage last year.

West Virginia coal miner killed in fall

By Naomi Spencer, 14 March 2019

Adam DeBoard, 38, died of head injuries after falling from a highwall at a Greenbrier County, West Virginia surface mine last week.

“Everyone in the mine is very mad and concerned”

Miner warns of safety danger at United States’ largest underground coal mine

By Samuel Davidson, 25 February 2019

Despite record levels of production at Consol Energy’s Pennsylvania Mining Complex the company has not rehired miners assigned to rock dust crews who were recently laid off.

Five killed, 22 feared trapped in South African mine explosion

By Samuel Davidson, 13 February 2019

The explosion was at a mine owned by the Gupta brothers, who have close ties to former ANC leader and South African President Zuma.

Australia: Casual coal miners begin week long strike in Wollongong

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 January 2019

Labor and the unions, which have spearheaded the destruction of full-time jobs, are cynically exploiting the stoppage to posture as opponents of growing casualisation.

Coal mine rescue brings to light desperate social conditions in West Virginia

By Naomi Spencer, 17 December 2018

The tragedy unfolded just a few miles from the scene of the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster, where 29 miners lost their lives in a massive explosion.

Underground worker killed in collapse at Nevada gold mine

By Evan Cohen, 31 October 2018

The death of the 42-year-old miner was one of several fatalities in October in metal and non-metal mines across the US.

Rates of black lung highest in 25 years among Appalachian coal miners

By Tom Hall, 23 July 2018

Decades after the deadly disease was nearly eradicated, more than one in five veteran coal miners now suffer from black lung disease.

Seven killed in South Africa gold mine collapse

By Eddie Haywood, 14 May 2018

The May 3 incident comes amid an overall rise in fatal mining accidents across the country in recent years.

Death on the Picket Line, the story of John McCoy

Book traces history of West Virginia miners’ struggles

2 March 2018

West Virginia teachers and their supporters will find in this work an important resource for gaining insight into the broader issues they face.

Australia: Locked-out Glencore coal mine workers face new provocations

By Terry Cook, 26 February 2018

As the union isolates the Oaky North workers, the Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating a protest picket near the Queensland mine.

370 miners to lose their jobs at Pennsylvania coal mine

By Samuel Davidson, 22 February 2018

The closure of the 4 West Mine in southwestern Pennsylvania will be another blow to workers in the area, which already suffers from high unemployment and poverty.

US coal mining fatalities nearly doubled in 2017

By Clement Daly, 12 January 2018

The surge in mining deaths reflects the deterioration of working conditions in the US coal industry.

Australia: Glencore steps up provocations against locked-out miners

By Terry Cook, 20 October 2017

The giant company is seeking to force through an enterprise agreement that slashes pay and working conditions.

Trump administration halts study on health impact of surface mining

By Keisha Gibbs, 6 September 2017

The Trump administration has ordered an abrupt halt to a study into potential public health hazards in areas near surface coal mining operations in Central Appalachia.

Australian unions isolate miners facing attacks on pay and conditions

By Terry Cook, 15 July 2017

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union has restricted the Glencore workers to token stoppages.

Two US coal miners killed in June

By Naomi Spencer, 1 July 2017

The deaths of two coal miners last month put 2017 on track to reach fatality figures not seen since the relative boom period of 2011-13.

Australian state Labor government agrees to subsidise giant coal mine

By Declan O’Malley and Mike Head, 13 June 2017

After weeks of posturing, the Queensland cabinet provided a lucrative royalties handout to Adani.

Trump, the coal miners and the environment

By Jerry White, 6 June 2017

Stripped of the demagogy and lies, the line of the Trump administration amounts to the proposition that miners must place their full trust and confidence in the benevolence of the coal bosses.

“Catastrophic failure” of regulators led to black lung among Australian miners

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 June 2017

Queensland authorities failed to look for, or properly identify, coal miners’ pneumoconiosis for more than 30 years.

West Virginia coal miner killed at pit run by environmental fund

By Naomi Spencer, 22 May 2017

A West Virginia coal miner was killed May 18, bringing to seven the number of fatal coal mine accidents in the US this year.

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship released from prison

By Samuel Davidson, 13 May 2017

Don Blankenship is free after one-year in prison over the deaths of 29 coal miners in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in 2010.

Health care for 22,600 retired coal miners extended for one week

By Samuel Davidson, 1 May 2017

The extension of medical coverage for 22,600 retired miners for another 20 months is being considered, but such a package would likely exclude pensions.

Two more US coal miners killed

By Naomi Spencer, 13 April 2017

Two accidents in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky coal mines bring to five the total number of US coal miners killed this year.

As Trump postures as friend of miners, retirees and widows face April 30 health care cutoff

By Samuel Davidson, 29 March 2017

On March 1, the United Mine Workers of America Health and Retirement Funds sent a letter to 22,600 retirees and widows informing them their retiree benefits would be cut off.

Coal miner killed at mine owned by West Virginia governor

By Clement Daly, 18 March 2017

Jason Kenneth Matthews was killed at the Bishop Preparation Plant, owned by Jim Justice, West Virginia’s governor and richest man.

“If a miner comes between a coal operator and a dollar, they’ll always take the dollar”

US coal miners face loss of retiree health coverage, black lung benefits

By Samuel Davidson, 6 March 2017

Thousands of retired coal miners and surviving widows have been sent letters notifying them that their health benefits will be cut off April 30 when funding for 22,600 recipients runs out.

Conviction upheld of CEO who oversaw West Virginia mine disaster

By Clement Daly, 7 February 2017

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, who oversaw the Upper Big Branch mine where 29 West Virginia miners were killed in 2010, failed to overturn his conviction

First US coal mine fatality of 2017

By Naomi Spencer, 31 January 2017

Ray Hatfield, a Kentucky coal miner, was killed January 26 while working alone in a Pike County pit.

Iowa worker killed in partial mine collapse

By Matt Rigel and Marcus Day, 27 January 2017

In the first US mining fatality of 2017, a truck operator died after a partial collapse at Linwood Mining and Mineral in eastern Iowa.

Industrial court endorses sacking of Australian miners after union betrayal

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 January 2017

The ruling was one of a series of interventions by the Fair Work Commission into industrial disputes that underscore its role as an apparatus of the corporate elite.

US coal miners hit by sharp rise in deadliest black lung disease

By Clement Daly, 19 December 2016

New reports have revealed a spike in the deadliest forms of the respiratory disease, which miners contract by inhaling coal dust.

US coal miners face cutoff of health, pension benefits

By Jerry White, 13 December 2016

More than 120,000 retired coal miners are threatened with the cutoff of health and pension benefits over the next several months as the United Mine Workers Health and Retirement Fund runs out of money.

Australia: Industrial tribunal backs the sacking of striking German Creek miners

By Terry Cook, 8 December 2016

A Fair Work Commission ruling, allowing Anglo American to dismiss workers involved in “protected” strike action, sets a dangerous precedent.

120,000 coal miners face loss of retirement benefits

By Clement Daly, 7 December 2016

The growing insolvency of the various UMWA health and retirement funds is rooted in the continuing global economic crisis and the resulting collapse of commodities prices.

Australia: Mounting evidence of black lung cover-up

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 November 2016

Thousands of miners could be afflicted by the deadly disease as a result of the erosion of safety standards by the major companies, with government and union complicity.

Australia: Strike continues at Anglo American’s German Creek coal mine

By Terry Cook, 3 October 2016

The union continues to isolate a dispute by 140 mine workers at Anglo American’s German Creek coal mine even as the company moves to recruit strike-breakers.

BHP Billiton demands Australian coal miners accept three-year wage freeze

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 September 2016

The company’s move is part of a broader offensive against the jobs and working conditions of workers.

Decades-long cover-up of “black lung” among Australian miners

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 August 2016

Reports of cases pre-date the official rediscovery of the disease in Queensland last year.

West Virginia coal miner killed in explosion

By Naomi Spencer, 9 August 2016

A coal miner died August 4 from burns sustained after a spark from his welder caused a massive ignition of the shaft on July 29.

Peabody Energy declares bankruptcy

By Clement Daly, 26 April 2016

Amidst the deepening global economic crisis, the world’s largest coal company declared bankruptcy, threatening the living standards and working conditions of its 7,100 global workforce.

Black lung disease reemerges in Australian coal mines

By Richard Phillips, 11 April 2016

Increased workloads, inadequate mine ventilation and low dust-testing standards have produced a sudden jump in the number of coal miners suffering from black lung.

Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship sentenced to one year in prison

By Clement Daly, 7 April 2016

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was sentenced yesterday to one year in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiring to willfully violate federal mine health and safety laws.

Harlan, Kentucky coal miner killed

By Naomi Spencer, 1 April 2016

The fatality, the fourth in the US this year, comes as the state legislature considers scrapping coal mine safety laws.

Coal giant Peabody Energy on verge of bankruptcy

By Clement Daly, 22 March 2016

In a string of bankruptcies, the courts are being used to attack the wages, pensions, health care and working conditions of miners—gains realized through decades of struggle.

Job cuts and threats of defaults as commodity prices fall

By a reporter, 30 January 2016

The South African mines minister has warned that 32,000 jobs could be lost in the industry as a result of the fall in commodity prices.

Misery compounds as mass layoffs continue in West Virginia

By Naomi Spencer, 23 January 2016

Each week brings announcements of hundreds of layoffs in coal, rail or other industries across the state.

Three US coal miners killed in three weeks

By Naomi Spencer, 22 January 2016

Three coal miners have died in separate accidents 19 days into the new year, the highest number to occur in such a period since 2006.

Former Massey CEO escapes most serious charges for role in mine disaster

By Clement Daly, 4 December 2015

Blankenship was found guilty of only one misdemeanor count of conspiring to willfully violate federal mine health and safety laws but acquitted of more serious felony charges.

West Virginia jury deliberates in trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship

By Clement Daly, 25 November 2015

Blankenship was at the head of Massey when an explosion ripped through the company’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia on April 5, 2010, killing 29 miners.

Jury deliberations continuing in trial of former Massey Energy CEO

By Clement Daly, 20 November 2015

Federal prosecutors rested their case against Don Blankenship on Monday and defense attorneys declined to call any witnesses.

Railroads lay off hundreds and close routes in Appalachia

By Jeff Lusanne, 29 October 2015

In response to plummeting coal production, two major railroads have suspended operations over century-old routes and laid off hundreds of workers in West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Collapse of West Virginia coal industry spurs growing inequality

By Naomi Spencer, 26 October 2015

As the coal industry has hemorrhaged jobs, state and local social services have been slashed and inequality has soared.

Upper Big Branch mine disaster: Opening statements in trial of former Massey Energy CEO

By Clement Daly, 16 October 2015

Twenty-nine miners died in the April 5, 2010 explosion, the worst coal mine disaster in nearly four decades.

US: Trial begins for Massey CEO in Upper Big Branch disaster

By Clement Daly, 5 October 2015

Massey boss Don Blankenship is not being charged with murder in the deaths of 29 coal miners, but faces three criminal counts of conspiracy, fraud and making false statements.

US coal giant seeks to eliminate health care for retirees

By Samuel Davidson, 28 September 2015

Years of working in the coal fields produce an array of health problems, from back and spine injury to black lung.

Layoffs mount in West Virginia

By Naomi Spencer, 29 July 2015

The state has the highest unemployment and lowest workforce participation rates in the country, figures exacerbated by mass layoffs in coal, rail and other key industries.

South Africa: Commission whitewashes ANC role in Marikana massacre

By G. T. Maqhubela, 29 June 2015

For three months, President Jacob Zuma delayed releasing the Farlam Commission’s report into the murders of dozens of striking mineworkers in August 2012.

Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship pleads not guilty to updated charges

By Clement Daly, 26 March 2015

It is nearly five years since the April 2010 explosion at Upper Big Branch killed 29 West Virginia miners in the worst US mine disaster in nearly four decades.

West Virginia mine roof collapse kills one worker, injures two

By Evan Blake, 10 March 2015

The McElroy Mine, owned by the Murray Energy Corporation, has already received 189 citations from the US Mine Safety and Health Administration so far this year.