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Mining unions engage governments for the implementation of ILO Convention 176

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17 November, 2021IndustriALL affiliates in South East Asia’s mine sector vow to continue engaging governments in social dialogue and call for ILO Convention 176 on Safety and Health in Mines to be implemented.

During an online regional awareness and capacity building meeting on ILO C176 on 10 November, Philippine Trade & General Workers' Organization (PTGWO), Associated Labor Unions (ALU) and Federation of Free Workers (FFW) reported that the unions have been engaging the Philippine department of environment and natural resources, calling on authorities to establish a mining tripartite industry council to address mine workers’ concerns.

The meeting also heard from Ujita Yuka, occupational health and safety (OHS) specialist from ILO Bangkok, who talked about decent work in mining.

The Philippine unions said that the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) had commented that the DENR Administration Order DAO 2010-21 fell short in requiring employers to ensure safe design of mines.

Moreover, the administration order provides no information on how national legislation complies with the provision of rights of workers and representatives to report accidents in the convention. Philippines ratified Convention 176 in 1998.

The Federation of Energy, Geology and Mining Workers’ Trade Unions of Mongolia (MEGM) observed the gap between the Convention 176 standards and its implementation in Mongolia. The union said that frequent mine accidents, particular at mines without unions, still occur after the ratification in 2015.

Indonesia’s government has yet to ratify ILO C176. The Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mining, Oil and Gas Workers’ Union (FSP KEP), Chemical, Energy and Mines Workers Union (CEMWU SPSI) and Federation of Indonesian Metal Workers' Union (FSPMI) have repeatedly lobbying the government to ratify Convention 176.

According to the unions, Indonesian Ministry of Manpower and the Association of Mining Companies support the ratification. However, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral resource disagree, claiming that the existing Ministerial Decrees covers all aspects of Convention 176.

Bambang Surjono, head of education and occupational safety and health at FSP KEP, said:

“We will engage the authorities in a Convention 176 seminar in 2022. At the moment, we are focusing on creating awareness among OSH committee members on the Convention.”

Tony Maher, CFMEU Mining & Energy general president said:

"We campaign for the ratification of C176 despite the fact that mine safety regulation in Australia is better than the convention. We hope that the new government emerging from the 2022 election will ratify it."

Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL mining director, said:

“IndustriALL will continue to support affiliates to campaign for the ratification of Convention 176. The Covid-19 pandemic is an alarm call that safety and health must be made one of the ILO fundamental principles and affiliates in South East Asia must rally behind the global campaign.”

The virtual meeting was attended by around 35 participants from Australia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam.