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Mongolian union calls for reformed labour code

22 January, 2020The IndustriALL affiliate in Mongolia is urging the parliament to reform the country’s labour code, standardizing miners’ duty roster to 14 days on and 14 days off to ensure mine safety.

The Federation of Energy, Geology and Mining Workers’ Trade Unions of Mongolia (MEGM), representing 22,000 mine workers and affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union, put forward the demands at a press conference in the country's capital Ulaanbaatar earlier this month.

Khuyag Buyanjargal, MEGM president, said that the union has received reports that many companies are implementing different rosters, like 40/20, 20/10, 28/14 or 14/7, at the expense of workers’ safety.

“Regulating rest time in the labour code would ensure that workers have sufficient rest time to avoid accidents.”

“Long working days, frequent shift changes and working in mines located far away from home, deprive workers of their rest time. Mining companies should take this feedback seriously, and understand that increasing workers’ rest time is a preventive measure,” said Buyanjargal.

328 mine accidents were recorded in Mongolia between 2015 and 2019, where 139 people were injured and 38 died. The number of mine accidents grew in 2018 and 2019.

An increasing divorce rate has followed the country’s booming mine industry, with 2.5 times more divorces in 2018 than in previous years.

“We had submitted an official demand to the Parliament speaker, Zandanshatar.G, and the Prime Minister, Khurelsukh.U. Mine workers have repeatedly ask for a reform of the labour code; we are urging the government to seriously consider the proposal,” Buyanjargal said.

IndustriALL mining director Glen Mpufane said:

“IndustriALL Global Union is in full support of its affiliate, MEGM’ s demand, which raises a crucial issue on the relationship between working time/shift rosters and health and safety, including work life balance, crucial for the family fabric of mineworkers and their families.”