Union wants full investigation into deadly pit collapse at Troy Resources site
The People’s United Worker’s Union is calling for a full investigation into the deadly mining accident at the Troy Resources’ Karouni location in Region Seven.
It’s been one week now since Ryan Taylor, a geologist and father of three young children, was buried alive when a mining pit collapsed with him inside.
The Union said at a press conference Monday at the Critchlow Labour College that no work should resume until it is proven that all the monitoring and safety measures were in place at the time of the incident.
The Union is the recognized worker’s union at Troy Resources.
Lincoln Lewis, President of the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union, which is supporting the action, said they are holding the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, the Department of Labour and Troy Resources equally accountable for the conditions of work under which Taylor died and is demanding a full complete investigation.
“In 2016 there was severe wall failure (in) a small stage three pit in Karouni mine.
“The Union reached out to GGMC and the Ministry time and time again – all to no avail – seeking their support and intervention to have the Troy Company abide by the prescribed standards and laws protecting workers lives and safety or to put a halt to unsafe mining practices,” Lewis said.
It was noted that the Union has been negotiating with Troy Resources for some time now for a collective labour agreement for improved working conditions and better wages for workers.
Mr Lewis said they are calling on the government to ensure that every worker is treated according to the law.
“There appear to be no respect for the laws of our land governing industrial practices, protecting workers and dictating how foreign investors are expected to function.”
According to Lewis foreign investors are welcomed to Guyana, but they must respect the laws and worker’s rights.
“In this recent case, the employer attempted after the deadly incident to shift the blame to the employee and the workforce to another pit; that is not the solution.
“…what is needed is a complete change in the processes surrounding digging and making the pits safer, safety must be boosted as the number one priority, not wealth at risk of workers lives,” Lewis said.
Meanwhile, Charles Ceres, a retired engineer is providing technical advice to the Union on the issue.
According to Ceres, a risk assessment was conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency and GGMC, which specifically identified slope stability and other issues as risk that were posed by the mining site and mandated monitoring and managing mechanisms to prevent accidents and fatalities.
This assessment was conducted before granting Troy Resources license to conduct mining activities.
“What we are consequently demanding is for the GGMC and the EPA to provide documentation that the issues that were defined in the risk assessment were in fact in place at the mine site and if they were not we would like to know why these monitoring measures were not in place,” Ceres said.
The Union will be lending all support to the children and family of Ryan Taylor, to ensure that they are adequately compensated.
The Government of Guyana has ordered the temporary suspension of mining operations for Troy Resources following the accident.
Troy Resources had said in a statement that there will be a full investigation by the Company and the relevant authorities.