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Glencore-Xstrata merger approved

21 November, 2012IndustriALL Global Union joined a group of protesting activists in Zug, Switzerland as Xstrata Shareholders approved its takeover by Glencore.

On 20 November in Zug, Switzerland, IndustriALL Global Union joined again with the Swiss Greens Party, and a number of civil society activists in front of the venue of Xstrata’s extraordinary shareholder meeting to demonstrate against the merger between commodity giants Xstrata and Glencore.

The merger to create a new natural resources powerhouse, Glencore Xstrata International, was approved by Xstrata shareholders on 20 November but without paying a multimillion-pound retention package to senior Xstrata managers as recommended by the board. The merger still requires approval by the European Commission, which has said it will give its ruling by 22 November, and from competition authorities in China and South Africa.

Xstrata and Glencore are among the top 20 firms on the London stock market and will have operations in 33 countries. Once the deal is complete they will be able to compete with bigger rivals like BHP Billiton, Vale and Rio Tinto. This vote eliminates an obstacle to Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg’s plan to create the world’s fourth-largest mining company. IndustriALL Global Union has publicly condemned the deal.

“We are here to remind them that a vote for the deal is a vote for greed, any reasonable and sensible person would not vote for this merger, if the past is anything to go by and considering their track record we should be very afraid”

said Glen Mpufane during the demonstration in front of the venue of commodities trader Glencore's extraordinary shareholder meeting in the Swiss town of Zug.

In South Africa, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and South Africa’s energy utility Eskom have lodged intervention applications appealing against the Competition Commission’s recommended approval. The Competition Tribunal will hear the applications on 10 to 14 December 2012. 

“IndustriALL Global Union and its alliance of partners and civil activists are going to be in the face of this new entity. We are going to hold them accountable and we will continue to demand that they do the right thing and become good corporate citizens if they are capable of that”

said Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL Global Union director for Mining and DJOGP.

IndustriALL Global Union’s protest against the merger was led principally by three of IndustriALL Global Union’s largest mining and metals affiliates, the United Steelworkers Union of America and Canada, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union of Australia (CFMEU) and the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (NUM).