Jump to main content
IndustriALL logotype

IndustriALL call on mining companies to sign global framework agreements

Read this article in:

  • English

27 May, 2024The annual OECD Minerals Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains on 21-24 May took place against the background of the growing strategic role of critical minerals in the transition to a low carbon energy future, and concerns about the negative impacts associated with this transition for workers, communities, and the environment.

The forum provides for strategic engagement to influence policy responses to these challenges.   IndustriALL Global Union participated in a plenary session.

Security and social license to operate: preventing tensions from escalating into conflict, where IndustriALL mining director Glen Mpufane questioned the absence of trade unions in the voluntary principles on security and human rights. Workers and their unions face violence, injury and death at the hands of private and public security forces deployed to break legitimate strikes and harass mine workers for exercising their legitimate organizing and collective bargaining rights.

Glen Mpufane stressed that unions are indispensable for successful non-state-based non-judicial grievance mechanisms and that global framework agreements and transnational global networks can facilitate and resolve security and human rights related disputes thereby avoiding conflict and violence.

“It is however unfortunate that global mining companies largely continue to reject global framework agreements and global networks, except for one large -scale mining company, Anglo American,”

said Glen Mpufane.

Anglo American is currently the target of hostile takeover bid by BHP Group, a move that IndustriALL rejects on the basis of clear founded concerns about BHP’s workers’ rights credentials.

IndustriALL Global Union participated  as a panel speaker in an OECD Forum partner led session – Make rightsholders’ voices heard: enhancing effective grievance mechanisms in mineral supply chains.

Blake Harwell, senior policy advisor at the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC), stressed the point about how responsible business conduct due diligence has always been about businesses managing risks to make money:

“Businesses need to guarantee they are implementing ILO core conventions, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in agreed frameworks with IndustriALL and other global unions. These frameworks are the only way to promote positive workers’ rights.”

The Forum also saw the launch of the Business and Human Rights Resource Center’s 5th edition of the BHRRC Transitions Minerals Tracker. In the foreword, Glen Mpufane reflects on the importance of the minerals tracker as a resource for workers, unions and communities.

Credit cover photo: OECD