Members of the United Steelworkers lobby the Swiss consulate in Houston, USA, to pressure Glencore to end its nine-month lockout at Sherwin Alumina and put a stop to other anti-worker behaviour around the world. Copyright: USW

IndustriALL's director of mining, Glen Mpufane, addresses a demonstration against Glencore in Zug, Switzerland in July 2012.

Unions target Switzerland over Glencore

25.06.2015

A group of IndustriALL Global Union affiliates from fourteen countries is appealing to Swiss citizens to hold mining multinational Glencore accountable for violations against workers at its operations around the world.

The Glencore Global Union Network’s week of action from 29 June to 3 July coincides with a new People’s Initiative in Switzerland, which is campaigning for a change in the law to make Swiss-based multinational companies, such as Glencore, responsible for their violations against human rights and the environment abroad.

If the People’s Initiative gets 100,000 signatures, Swiss citizens can vote on whether it should be made law under the Federal Constitution.

If the vote is successful, it means that victims of human rights or environmental violations by Swiss multinationals in foreign countries could take the company to court in Switzerland and claim compensation.

It would also make Swiss companies responsible for violations committed by their subsidiaries or the companies they control in the countries where they operate.   

During the global week of action, IndustriALL affiliates from Africa, Australia, Latin America and the USA, which form the Glencore Global Union Network, will be handing over a protest letter to Swiss Embassies and Consulates.

The letter implores the Swiss government to see that Glencore abides by international standards and stops the abuse of people and the environment abroad.

“Switzerland has a good reputation for respecting workers rights and collective bargaining. However, Glencore’s actions abroad are giving the country a bad name and its behaviour would not be tolerated in Switzerland,” says IndustriALL’s director of mining Glen Mpufane.

IndustriALL is taking Glencore to task over allegations of union-busting, health and safety violations, and tax evasion following grievances by affiliates, among other accusations.  

The Glencore Global Union Network has representatives from fourteen countries which are Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Namibia, Peru, South Africa, United States and Zambia.

Find out more about the initiative here: http://konzern-initiative.ch/?lang=fr