Glencore Xstrata is using unfair dismissals, coercion and interference in union affairs to prevent technicians at the Antapaccay copper company in the Cuzco region of Peru from unionizing.
Labour relations took a turn for the worse after Xstrata acquired the company and told 450 technicians and administrative employees that they henceforth held ‘positions of trust’, an impressive term which in practice was no more than a loophole barring workers from being covered by collective bargaining.
Last month, the situation reached a new low. Wanting a voice at work, a group of employees decided to form a union. On the day after the union registration came through, however, all thirty-five founding members were dismissed. The company then offered to take them back on condition they agreed to quit the union and to sign a letter to that effect drafted by the company’s lawyers. Thirty of them agreed; the five who refused were not reinstated.
Last week the company lawyers set to work again, this time preparing a letter in the name of the former union members asking the labour authorities to deregister the union because its affiliation had dropped below the twenty members required by law.
Clearly, Glencore Xstrata does not believe in the universal right of all workers to join and form a union without interference or discrimination.
IndustriAll Global Union is supporting the Sindicato de Trabajadores Funcionarios de la Compañía Minera de Antapaccay in demanding respect for the right to organize and to bargain collectively.