24 May, 2017At Glencore’s 2017 annual general shareholders meeting in Zug, Switzerland on 24 May, IndustriALL Global Union, together with its affiliates UNIA of Switzerland and USW (Workers Uniting North America) expressed serious concerns on the growing list of violations that continue to impact workers and communities at many of the company’s operations.
"We raised all of our concerns at the annual general meeting on the on-going issues at a number of Glencore’s operations, in Canada, Peru, Australia, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo. We called for transparency, and meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders particularly, with trade unions everywhere and at all levels," said Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary.
A number of shareholders and civil society representatives raised different issues, particularly health and safety, during the meeting. It was made clear that it is a major concern that they want Glencore to take seriously.
One shareholder pressed the chairperson on demanding to know the level of accountability that Glencore takes for these fatalities, and how is it reported to shareholders. He also demanded to know what level of responsibility Glencore takes with regards to compensation for the families of the deceased workers.
“IndustriALL wants to know whether the strategies to mitigate and ensure that such fatalities do not occur again involve consultations and negotiations with trade unions” said Özkan.
“Sixteen workers were killed in 2016 is unacceptable,” added Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL mining director. “The reports of the causes of the fatalities have not been disclosed, IndustriALL insisted that they be disclosed officially.”
Around 86 workers have been affected by occupational diseases, yet Glencore has not made any effort to find a fair and just solution for these workers.
IndustriALL met privately with Glencore’s CEO, Ivan Glasenberg, after the shareholders’ meeting. It was made clear that unions want to establish a genuine meaningful dialogue with the company management. The company officials and IndustriALL should meet in the near future to discuss modalities of the intended dialogue.
A side meeting was also set up between Glencore officials and the local 6486 of the United Steelworkers local 6486 about the situation at the CEZinc refinery in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada. 371 union members were provoked to strike by a demand by the company for major pension concessions; despite the fact their pension plan is over-funded.