According to a union rep for the 33 trapped Chilean miners, the company that operates the mine has run out of money and can’t afford to pay the miners while they sit underground and wait to be rescued.
In this summer of corporate contrition, the owners of the San Esteban mining company have already publicly pleaded in front of the Chilean Parliament for forgiveness. However, union leader Evelyn Olmos reports that the company may soon go bankrupt due the loss of income from the mine and will thus be unable to pay the miners’ wages while they are trapped underground. (The company is also not assisting in the miners’ rescue; that is being handled by Codelco, a government-run mining company.)
Olmos argued that the Chilean government should pick up the tab for the miner’s pay, as well as that of miners above ground who are now unemployed because of the collapsed mine. However, government officials say that they are prohibited from paying the workers due to Chilean labor laws and stated that they will assist the trapped miners in finding other employment after they are freed.
While some readers will undoubtedly have the reaction that the men do not deserve to be paid for their time trapped in the mine as they are not performing any actual mining work, NewsFeed would like to point out that the men will in fact still be working while they are trapped.
As The Daily Mail reports: “Officials have said that it is essential the men be at their best physically and mentally because their own work clearing the rocks will be vital to keeping their eventual escape route from becoming plugged.” They are not just hanging out down there playing video games. (via New York magazine)