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FID challenges IAM Gold dismissals in Burkina Faso

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11 October, 2012Federation des Industries Diverses du Burkina (FID), an IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, will represent 61 of the 74 workers dismissed by IAM Gold on 10 May 2012 at the labour court.

The dismissal, which includes 14 shop stewards, is part of a long battle for better working conditions at the mine. In October 2011, workers demanded, amongst other things, overtime pay for workers that had clocked in more than 80 hours per week, fulltime contracts for workers that had more than two years of service at the company and an allowance for dirt, quarter and dust.

After no response from IAM Gold to the demands, workers went on strike in December 2011, which was abandoned after three days at the request of government. IAM Gold responded to the strike by suspending three quarters of the workforce and in 2012, gradually reinstated all but the 74 that were dismissed.

Initially IAM Gold tried to dismiss the workers but permission for the dismissal was denied by the labour inspector, hence the suspension. As the strike was legal, there was no basis for the dismissals or the suspensions, which in any case contravened the labour law in Burkina Faso that provides for a maximum 8 days suspension period.

Attempts by the union to have suspended workers reinstated were ignored and the matter was referred for conciliation. After six sessions, the dispute was not resolved and IAM Gold dismissed the remaining 74 suspended workers. The matter has now been referred to the labour court.  

“The actions of IAM Gold are violations of a number of international labour rights including the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike,” says IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina

The reprehensible behaviour of this multinational has not escaped our attention and we demand that IAM Gold reinstate these victimised workers and urgently address poor working conditions at the mine.