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CLC President Ken Georgetti helps commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Westray Coal Mine Explosion

Presented by Ken Georgetti on Wednesday, 9 May 2012

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The Westray coal mine was only open for eight months when the underground methane gas explosion killed 26 miners twenty years ago today.

We know the company knew conditions in the mine were unsafe...

...that the government knew the conditions in the mine were unsafe.

We know the company ignored the safety of your brothers, sons and fathers.

We have mourned every year on this anniversary, but everyday since, we have redoubled our efforts to make sure that never again would this happen.

In 2004, working together – families and workers and unions – we forced changes to the Criminal Code to hold employers criminally liable. 

And today we work together again to hold the provinces and territories to account – to enforce the law and lay criminal charges when employers wilfully fail to protect the lives and safety of their workers.

For families, friends and loved ones here today – know that the 3.3 million members of the Canadian Labour Congress stand with you – both in sorrow, and with deep resolve. 

Never again should we come together to another community to mourn lives lost, like we do here today. 

Thank you.

The names and ages of the 26 miners who were killed in the Westray coal mine disaster at 5:18 am on the 9th of May, 1992:

John Thomas Bates, 56; Larry Arthur Bell, 25; Bennie Joseph Benoit, 42; Wayne Michael Conway, 38; Ferris Todd Dewan, 35; Adonis J. Dollimont, 36; Robert Steven Doyle, 22; Remi Joseph Drolet, 38; Roy Edward Feltmate, 33; Charles Robert Fraser, 29; Myles Daniel Gillis, 32; John Philip Halloran, 33; Randolph Brian House, 27; Trevor Martin Jahn, 36; Laurence Elwyn James, 34; Eugene W. Johnson, 33; Stephen Paul Lilley, 40; Michael Frederick MacKay, 38; Angus Joseph MacNeil, 39; Glenn David Martin, 35; Harry A. McCallum, 41; Eric Earl McIsaac, 38; George S. James Munroe, 38; Danny James Poplar, 39; Romeo Andrew Short, 35; Peter Francis Vickers, 38.

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