Hopes that the 33 trapped Chilean miners could be rescued earlier than expected were dealt a blow today as it was revealed that many of them have gone on strike, hampering the rescue attempt.
The strike is thought to have been called yesterday after a message was sent to them down the rescue shaft by Chilean NUM leader Artur Scargill telling that their working and living conditions were unacceptable and that pit bosses should be forced to do something about it.
Following a hastily-run ballot the miners have now officially gone on strike, even though they are still stuck 600m underground. ‘We will not let anyone cross our picket line’ shouted one of the miners via a video link before being heard to shout ‘SCAB!’ in the general direction of the men who are trying to rescue them.
Hundreds of police officers are now thought to be digging another shaft in order to beat the striking miners with truncheons and riot shields, a move defended by Chilean politician Margerita Thatcher who said ‘they only have themselves to blame as they have refused all offers so far to come to the negotiating table’.