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Solidarity in the face of BHP’s race to the bottom

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18 October, 2019IndustriALL, together with London Mining Network, International Transport Federation, Unite the Union and others, joined forces in a joint demonstration ahead of the mining giant’s annual general meeting in London, calling on BHP to stop replacing permanent jobs with less stable, lower paid contract work.

Workers at BHP sites in multiple countries complain of poor health and safety practices, and the company stands accused of treating contract workers worse than their permanent counterparts.

Labour hire and contract mine workers are less likely to raise concerns about safety issues due to fears about job security, leading to under-reporting of injuries.

Earlier this year, IndustriALL’s BHP global network launched a campaign to strengthen union action and to call on BHP, the world’s biggest mining company by market capitalization, to end its bad corporate behaviour at the expense of workers.

Inside the AGM, IndustriALL mining director Glen Mpufane challenged BHP on their policy on outsourcing jobs. In comparison to an industry average of 30 – 40 per cent, at BHP managed sites 60 per cent of the workforce on average are contractors.

And on a direct request for BHP to engage with IndustriALL, chairman Ken Mackenzie declined.

BHP is involved in mining projects in Colombia, Brazil and Chile with grave impacts on local communities.

The AGM heard several testimonials on BHP’s environmental legacy, including the  Samarco dam collapse tragedy in Brazil, in 2015. One speaker from the area said that four years later none of the destroyed houses have been rebuilt, to which BHP replied that all houses will be rebuilt in 2021.

Glen Mpufane said:

“BHP is cutting costs at the expense of workers’ and ignoring the rights of communities affected by their operations.
 
“There is no separate struggle; together we will continue to fight against their race to the bottom which affects workers, communities and the environment.”