18 February, 2019IndustriALL Global Union and Rio Tinto undertook a joint mission to resolve the troubled industrial relations climate at Rio Tinto’s QIT Madagascar Minerals.
The mission was part of an IndustriALL union building activity in Antananarivo, Madagascar on 11 and 12 February 2019. IndustriALL and Rio Tinto are making a joint effort to set Rio Tinto’s QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) operation on the right path to sustainable constructive dialogue, consistent with Rio Tinto’s global industrial relations principles. QMM is 80 per cent owned by Rio Tinto and 20 per cent owned by the government of Madagascar.
The mining operation, situated near Fort Dauphin on the south-eastern tip of Madagascar, has been the scene of hostile and acrimonious industrial relations between local management and IndustriALL affiliates. A labour dispute over the implementation of provisions of a collective bargaining agreement erupted following IndustriALL’s high-level joint mission to the QMM operations in February 2018.
The labour dispute followed a long history of industrial strife at the operation, where contractors constitute the majority of the workforce. Since then, IndustriALL and Rio Tinto have undertaken several interventions, individual and jointly, to facilitate constructive industrial relations at QMM built on dialogue.
A two-day evaluation and planning union building workshop took place on 11 and 12 February, facilitated by IndustriALL’s union building team, comprising Sub-Saharan Africa regional secretary, Paule Ndessomin, the region’s programme officer, Tendai Makanza and the programme officer responsible for the region from IndustriALL’s central office in Geneva, Switzerland, Fanja Rasolomanana.
It was followed by a two-day joint intervention facilitated by Rio Tinto’s employee relations manager for the region, Philippe Ferrie, the employee relations manager for the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia, Munkh-Orgil Lkhaasuren, and Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL director for mining, diamonds, gems and ornaments.
Late last year, IndustriALL conducted a successful joint mission to the Oyu Tolgoi mine, as part of a delegation including Union to Union and Swedish affiliate IF Metall. A comprehensive report is available here. The operation’s employee relations manager came to Madagascar to share his experiences.
The joint intervention workshop was part of ongoing efforts to build constructive industrial relations at QMM between IndustriALL’s affiliates, Sendika Kristanina Malagasy (Sekrima) and Syndicalisme et Vie des Sociétés (SVS), and QMM management.
Glen Mpufane, commenting on the importance of the joint intervention workshop, said:
“The success or failure of the joint efforts to put QMM on the right pathway towards constructive industrial relations dialogue depends on the commitment to and implementation of the outcomes of the workshop by both QMM management and the trade unions”.
The outcomes also include a commitment by Rio Tinto to its contractors’ supplier code of conduct, and to sustainable communities.
Commenting on Rio Tinto’s commitment to a constructive dialogue roadmap for QMM Philippe Ferrie said,
“The workshop will help to improve QMM processes, to learn from what went well and where there is room for improvement in terms of process and relationship, and put all of this on a roadmap (within the overall Rio Tinto roadmap) that also keeps in mind the overall business framework of QMM.”