Letter from a tunnel boring machine | Humanity
This week, I received a letter which made me very happy. I had never corresponded with a tunnel boring machine! A young man came across an old video of me in which I was talking about billionaires… Here is that letter:
» Good day Mrs,
Thank you for your words about the Worker and the capitalists.
God make you a billionaire, you’ll know what to do with it for the people. My name is Jalal, I am the son of a coal miner, child of Moroccan parents, 4 brothers. In 2007, I discovered the magnificent job of a miner operating machinery on a machine called the “tunnel boring machine”.
At the beginning of my career I started at the price of skilled laborer. I believe in 10 euros an hour, then after six months my boss told me 80 cents increase. Then six months later 70 cents increase! So yes, we are well paid provided we are firm in negotiation. I’ve seen guys be the same price for years. If there is no control, it passes. Then there are travel allowances for accommodation and food. And this is not taxable, so we save them thoroughly. Carpooling, shared accommodation, cooking! On the other hand, the night premiums are very low, rarely more than 20 euros. And there I tell myself that the CEOs of Vinci, Spie Batignolles, Eiffage have more power than a president, otherwise our hours would really be increased. But to see the salary go up, you have to be competent, sociable, never sick…
At the time I was a skilled laborer, I made a bet with the manager that in three months I would become a miner. After three months, I am a train driver on tires, so I am paid on long trips. It changes my life and helps me accept work. On the machine, the work is noisy, it is very hot. I discover the works in 3-8. A week at night, a week in the afternoon, a week in the morning, it’s very exhausting, it’s hard for me to eat properly. But I’m a paid temporary worker on the 12th. And on the 12th of each month, it’s a joy to see the salary fall into my account. This mitigates all the sacrifices made to get this pay.
I stayed two years on this site and then I had the chance to discover traditional digging with an explosive device. It was an obstacle course just to apply for this job.
In your video what I liked was the feeling of being defended as a worker and a man. I heard the people’s spokesperson. I remember the passage with Sephora and the fact of doubling enriching a person. I also remember the sentence when you ask that we display the margin on the tickets of the articles. It made an impression on me, because the first time I really went shopping for clothes was in Troyes in the factory outlet. Buying a shirt that originally cost 139 euros, which goes to 89 euros at factory price, then sold at 39 euros, I buy it, I’m happy, but I still tell myself that the margin ‘they take at 139 euros must be enormous.
There is also another passage that comes back to me. It’s when you talk about CAC 40 companies that pay little or no tax and a worker who does. It’s bloody as a passage. In a film, this is the moment when the viewer cries.
I feel like in your soul you are already a billionaire…
Sincerely, Jalal, mine operator (tunnel manufacturer). »