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Glencore must walk the talk

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2 May, 2024The status of the mining industry, Glencore’s response to climate change, capital strategy campaign and the upcoming annual general meeting (AGM) were on the agenda at the Glencore global network meeting which took place online on 25 April. 

In his presentation, IndustriALL mining director Glen Mpufane highlighted that the OECD forecasts that global materials demand will more than double from 76 billion to 167 billion tons by 2060 and global competition for resources will become fierce in the coming decade.

Glencore is one of the largest global producers of copper nickel, zinc, vanadium, and cobalt. Although a small player when it comes to coal production, Glencore accounted for 7.2 per cent of all coal exports in 2022 and is likely the world’s single largest corporate-level exporter in thermal coal.

Glencore will transition to a low carbon economy through a transition in and transition out plan. Transition out will focus on closing energy assets that are not economical or have reached the end of their economic life. Transition in will focus on operations producing commodities for the required transition and ramp up activities as metals and recycling businesses expand to meet the demands of a low carbon society.  Glencore’s just transition guidelines focus on adopting a multi-stakeholder approach, supporting civil dialogue, supporting skills development, supporting civic dialogue, and supporting vulnerable people and groups.  

“As trade unions we need to focus on training and organizing in just transition. Our processes include due diligence guidelines, for companies and workplaces. Glencore must be consistent in respecting workers and human rights, globally,”

said Glen Mpufane.

Liz Umlas, IndustriALL senior adviser on capital strategies, stressed the importance of investor engagement. IndustriALL is using capital strategies to increase pressure on companies like Glencore to highlight abuse on workers. As labour issues are gaining traction, investor leverage can be helpful in getting companies to the table.

Affiliates gave input from their countries. The common theme was issues of collective bargaining, the right to organize, workers’ rights violations and environmental issues. Affiliates agreed that workers’ rights should be implemented, that due diligence is necessary and social dialogue with communities is essential.

Dominic Lemieux, co-chair of the mining and DGOJP sector, said: 

“Dialogue is important; we need to talk to people on the ground and union reps have the capacity to mobilize members. We need to raise awareness at local levels and all trade unions need to know what is happening. We can be more proactive and do better. IndustriALL must raise more awareness on campaigns and be more visible.”

Ramping up pressure on Glencore before the AGM on 29 May, where the global network will be present, an investor webinar will take place on 2 May. Workers from Glencore operations in South Africa and Colombia will voice what’s happening at on the ground. There will also be an escalated campaign on the issues and a post AGM campaign with coalition partners and a focus on issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Colombia.

“Glencore continues to put profits before people, workers, and communities. The company is still not addressing the environmental, social and governance issues across its global operations and still run away from dialogue. We continue to see extensive human rights violations. Glencore can’t keep making profits at the expense of workers’ rights and other stakeholders’ health and safety. We will work hard to hold this company accountable,”

said Kemal Özkan IndustriALL assistant general secretary. 

Photo: Shutterstock