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Mass dismissals at Rio Tinto in Madagascar

31 July, 2013The sharp decline in commodity prices in the international market is being felt in the mining sector in Madagascar, as Rio Tinto QMM’s subcontractor Omega plans to stop operations at Fort-Dauphin.

The security company Omega stopped operations on 31 July 2013. No response was ever given to the workers despite the many demands made by the local union FISEMA to the different stakeholders.

The mass dismissals announced at Rio Tinto QMM in Madagascar would affect over 300 workers. IndustriALL Global Union affiliate the Fédération des Syndicats des Travailleurs de l’Energie et des Mines (FISEMA) calls on the Rio Tinto and local authorities to adequately deal with the situation. These dismissals come with no social planning for the dismissed workers and Rio Tinto has not entered into meaningful dialogue with the union.

Rio Tinto has demonstrated a common trend in a number of countries where it runs operations, of destroying communities by failing to develop sustainable operations as it always manages to keep wages to a minimum, justifying that they are above the national minimum. This is very far from its commitment to conduct its activities in compliance with environmental, health, safety and well being of its employees and the community.

For the union there has been a real failure for sustainable development in the region. Now that Omega has ceased operations, the fate of the workers now lies in the hands of the local authorities to which the union has made their demands to enable them to be able to sustain a decent life in the region.