Coal miners have told of how they have struggled to survive in the harsh conditions of their job, with some fearing for their childrens health and the future of their homes.
The reality is that miners are paid less than factory workers, which is a factor in their work, said Chris McBride, a coal miner who works in Lancashire.
“You are literally working from dawn to dusk in the dark and freezing temperatures, and then you get up at 3am to put your kids to bed, and you’re all just waiting to get out of there and back to the mining station,” McBride said.
McBride’s son, Liam, who is seven years old, is one of the first to come into work each morning, and he says he’s “shocked” at how much work his parents have to do to survive.
Liam says he knows he’s going to work for longer hours than he should.
“My dad told me when I was five years old I was going to go out there and do this, and now I’ve got to work eight hours a day,” Liam said.
The coal miner told ABC News that his parents had no choice but to keep working, despite the fact they’re not getting paid for their hard work.
“They have no choice, so we have to work our asses off,” he said.
Liam said he believes his parents are the only parents in the area to be forced to work this hard.
“We don’t get paid enough to live on,” he added.
Coal mining has become increasingly popular in recent years, with the number of mines now worth more than $4 billion.
The mining industry is also struggling to cope with the growing demand for coal in developing countries, where it is also a key component of their energy mix.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the coal mining industry in Australia has seen an average growth rate of 3.7 percent between 2014 and 2020, with more than 80,000 jobs in the sector.
It is estimated that in 2020, the Australian coal mining sector will employ about 7.6 million people, a rate of growth that is likely to continue.
The Australian mining industry employs around 10,000 people in the country’s two biggest coal producing regions, Victoria and South Australia.
A report released by the Australian Coal Council last year found that coal mining jobs accounted for about 5 percent of all employment in the mining industry, which also accounts for about 40 percent of Australia’s overall GDP.
The report, Coal for Australia, said that more than 1 million coal miners in Australia were under the age of 30 and that the mining sector employs over 30,000 young people.
“The majority of these young people are now in their twenties and thirties,” the report said.
“Younger miners are also finding it more difficult to secure employment as they are now required to be at least 18 to work in coal mines.”
Many of these workers are also struggling financially.
In Victoria, one in six workers lives in poverty, according to a study by the Centre for Ageing Australia, while in South Australia, one of three mining regions, over a quarter of all coal miners aged 15-34 live in poverty.
The government has also been criticised for its response to the coal industry, with Labor calling for a national inquiry into the industry, while the Greens have said they want to see the industry brought into government.