Most of the rock miners suffer from arthritis, tuberculosis and conditions related to their eyes and ears due to constantly breathing stone dust and the gruelling working conditions.— Photo tienphong.vn
AN GIANG — Nguyễn Thành Công, 54, a labourer in Thoại Sơn District of Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of An Giang, has worked as a rock miner for nearly 30 years to earn a living.
He said that he began the trade at 16 years old.
“I had to go everywhere looking for a stable job and five years ago, I decided to live here to stabilise my family’s livelihood,” Công told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.
“The work is very hard, from early morning until late afternoon, but my family members and I have to try to get money,” he said.
He can earn a few hundred thousand đồng each day if it doesn’t rain, he added.
In Cô Tô Commune, hundreds of people are in jobs similar to Công’s.
According to Công, he had to spend nearly VNĐ3 million (US$136) to buy tools, including 40 kinds of chisels and two hammers to carry out his work effectively.
Nowadays, machines can replace human labour in many sectors and trades, but in a few cases the work still needs to be carried out by hand.
The rock miners’ job is done mainly by hand. The rock-mining enterprises do not want their workers to use machines due to their imprecise nature and their demands on the size and shape of the mined rock.
It’s hard to save money from this job, just enough to cover my daily expense making me very happy, Công said.
“I have to try my best to earn money to support my family,” he said.
Most of the rock miners suffer from arthritis, tuberculosis and conditions related to their eyes and ears due to constantly breathing stone dust and the gruelling working conditions, the newspaper reported.
Lê Công Thức, 37, said that he began this job when he was just 13 years old because his family was very poor and he did not have money to study.
He also went to many mining factories to mine stone at rock mountains.
“Over dozens of years working at this job, my family’s property is a temporary house,” Thức said.
Another worker, Mai Văn Thuyên, 31, who lives in southern Trà Vinh Province, works as a stone carrier, and reiterated the tough nature of the job.
“This work is very hard but I do not have a farm so I have to continue this job,” Thuyên said.
Everyday, he works in a group of four carrying stones weighing nearly 220kg to small boats, which are then transported to many provinces in the region.
They can earn nearly VNĐ150,000 a day.
Nguyễn Văn Tuấn, head of the People’s Committee of Cô Tô Commune said nearly 300 people from many provinces across the country come here to live and work in rock mining enterprises.
Despite the hard work, many women also join, Tuấn said.
Despite the hard working conditions, illness, disease and a lot of danger, the workers have committed to the work for most of their lives, he said. — VNS