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Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Miners' Misery

Below is a video of real people who tell us how the smell of profits sucks the safety out of the Ukrainian mining industry. (H/t Luida)

Miner 1: What do I do? Guys, you tell me. What do I do at home? Where’s my Roman? Where? I want…I want to know where Roman is. He went off to work. Mother’s waiting for her son. I'm waiting, too. Where is he? Why holler? [shrugs off a man trying to calm him] And what should I do? Please understand, I only have one [son]. I won’t have another one.

Brother, there won’t be another one. That’s it. I had hope, I had support. Now I d-o-n-’t! And what am I supposed to do? Maybe I should treat you to bread and salt? Where’s this Yushchenko? Where are they? Have they arrived? Let them explain. I’ve lost my son! He didn’t fool around. He didn’t throw around hundreds of dollars [refers to college bribery]. No he didn’t. He honestly worked together with you guys here, at Section 7. He did honest and good work. He’s no loafer. Because I’m no loafer. I did 20 years of work. Look at these hands here! Look here!

The gas level at their drift ran at 80 percent. Everybody came running. I say it’s an unhealthy situation. Get out of there! Yeah, he promised me, he promised. He lied, he lied! Now let him come out. Let him look the people in the eye. Let him look! [probably refers to the man who controls the mine].

It’s in mines like yours — in high-methane ones — that not a single cable should be pegged. And how many pegs do you have on those cables? How many? How many jumpers do you have on those indicators? Plan! Plan! It’s unachievable for such depths and…it’s unachievable!

Other miners: Guys, we work here at the Zasyadka Mine. What should we do?
Miner 1: Jail him, jail him! Think of all the lives he destroyed!
Other miners: No one will jail him. No one will jail him.

Miner 2: I was in ICU. He’s telling the right thing, guys. I was in ICU. They brought me a small TV, they showed me: an explosion at Zasyadka, a government commission is conducting a probe. And they said a trolley exploded at a mine horizon. How could a tram explode at a mine horizon? That particular trolley, I hereby report to you — I’ll show you my ID, here’s my ID [states his name].

I was in delivery. On May 24, 1999 I was told to leave the tram. It’s remains there to this day. Don’t fool us. He’s telling the right thing, this man. I quite agree with him. I share his views. By the way, I now would like to…[struggles to speak] ever since, my nerves are not OK. You can check my ID. I’m not hiding. This is where I work. I work at the SEA, or Sanitary-Ecological Area. I was assigned here in 1990.


elmer said...

Someone was telling the man not to shout.

They ought to be allowed to shout to the high heavens as much as they want.

They deserve sympathy and moral support, and lots of it, and compensation, not someone telling them not to talk about it or to sweep it under the rug.

And if the stories are true about the safety standards being ignored - then those responsible indeed ought to go to jail.

Taras said...

Elmer, I think that having Mr. Zvyahilsky drilling for coal down that mine for a week or two would be a much more ethical role-playing game.

And as this video suggests, the miners wouldn’t object.

elmer said...

I don't think Zvyahilsky would fit into the mine - he's way too fat. (Look at the miners - they are trim.)

But you're right - that would be some very good and big medicine.

The question is - will anyone in the Rada finally get it? Will anyone in the Rada finally understand that the role of good government is not lazy-faire economics, letting the likes of Zvyahilksy do whatever he wants, including kill miners?

Oops, I forgot. "Noone knows" who owns the mine. Now you see it, now you don't. On-off. On-off. On-off. Peek-a-boo.

elmer said...

You know, one would think that if coal production is so important, and if the Zasyadko mine is particularly important to coal production in Ukraine, a smart, able and good businessman would take every precaution he could against a shutdown of the mine.

Forgot about humanitarianism, or moral responsibility - from the viewpoint of cold, hard cash, one would think that a good businessman would not want any interruption of output such as would be caused, and has been caused, by explosions.

Most well-run businesses today also think it's a good idea to treat employees decently - it boosts productivity.

I wonder where Zvyahilsky is sucking his cash from now?

Taras said...

As I understand, the mine is government property under a lease. Should anything happen, taxpayers shoulder the burden. Welcome to stabilnist.

Considering his well-diversified portfolio of connections, I'm sure Zvyahilsky is doing fine.

Michelle said...

Thanks for translating this....I don't have high speed....This subject of the safety standards of mines in Ukraine needs to be talked and written about more and more....

Taras said...

You are welcome, Michelle!

It's a slice-of-death report. In fact, it's one of the most objective reports on the subject of mine safety.