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Kinross Gold Corporation must ensure workers’ health and safety during Covid-19 crisis

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8 May, 2020Workers at Tasiast gold mine in Mauritania, owned by Canadian Kinross Gold Corporation, launched an indefinite strike on 5 May over non-compliance with labour laws and workers’ safety during Covid-19.

Workers are demanding that the company complies with the Mauritania’s labour law, especially regarding staff representatives, legal duration of work, overtime, weekly rest and the respect for the 2019 collective agreement.

In addition, staff representatives are stressing the need to follow the safety instructions established by the authorities related to Covid-19 on quarantine and isolation for 14 days for anyone arriving on site.

On 18 April, staff representatives sent a letter to management stating their demands and concerns, but the company failed to respond.

On 4 May, staff representatives convened a meeting with the company management to negotiate, but when no agreement was reached, the workers went on an indefinite strike.

Laghdaf Dia Sanghare, general secretary of IndustriALL affiliate  Fédération nationale de l'énergie, des hydrocarbures, des mines et de l'industrie (FNEHMI) says:

“The FNEHMI is urging Kinross to show flexibility during this pandemic and to engage in negotiations with the union with the aim to find a solution to their legitimate claims. The FNEHMI is inviting the government to play a role in finding a way forward in this conflict which has gone on for too long, and help reach a durable solution.”

In a letter to Kinross CEO, J. Paul Rollinson, IndustriALL is urging the company to immediately intervene and respond to the workers’ demands, guarantee workers’ health and safety, and strictly abide by the labour law provisions.

IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan says:   

“We stand in solidarity with our affiliate and support the demands. Health and safety measures must be respected during this pandemic and management must enter into negotiations in good faith over the workers’ legitimate demands. It is imperative that Tasiast immediately complies with safety instructions in the workplace.”

Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Kinross Gold is one of the leading gold mining companies in the world with mines and projects in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Mauritania, and Russia employing approximately 9,000 people worldwide.