IndustriALL Global Union joins the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) in Australia, the United Steelworkers (USW) in Canada and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in South Africa and takes the position against the planned merger of Xstrata and Glencore.
In a joint statement the trade unions representing Xstrata’s and Glencore’s unionized workforces across the world voice their opposition to the proposed merger of the two companies and especially the extreme retention bonuses being paid to Xstrata management. The unions argue that competition and corporate regulators should rather consider breaking up the companies rather than allowing further concentration and abuse of power.
The unions believe that “both companies are major examples of the “resource curse” in action, a phenomenon where developing countries dispose of abundant natural resources with low profitability for the national economy due to government mismanagement of resources, or weak, ineffectual, unstable or corrupt institutions. Glencore is leading the way because of its greater history of secrecy and lack of transparency as a Swiss-based private company”.
“Trade unions have frequently had very difficult relations with these companies and their intended merger can only magnify those problems as the combined entity will become one the mega-corporations dominating the global resources sector. These corporations are increasingly distant from the operations they own and manage, and from the communities affected by those operations,” reads the statement.
The poor record includes misbehaviour of both companies in Australia, Argentina, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa. According to the unions in the current merger: “Those who actually produce the wealth for Xstrata and Glencore – the workers who toil in remote mines in harsh environments and deep underground – are to receive nothing, while their bosses intend to bathe in wealth beyond their wildest dreams.”
In the current merger proposal between Glencore and Xstrata, the top management of Xstrata is to receive £240 million (around US$375m) in so-called retention payments of which Chief Executive Mick Davis is to receive £29m (US$45m).”