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New work roster a big win for Mongolian miners

11 January, 2022The adoption of a 14 working days and 14 days off roster is a victory for IndustriALL affiliate Federation of Energy, Geology and Mining Workers’ Trade Unions of Mongolia (MEGM). The revised labour code was passed by the Mongolian parliament on 2 July 2021, coming into force on 1 January this year.

“We welcome the labour code revision which guarantees 14/14 roster work for miners. I urge mine companies to comply with the new labour code and not to decrease their salaries. The government must ensure compliance by carrying out regular inspections,”

says Khuyag Buyanjargal, MEGM president and general secretary of Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions (CMTU).

The government had initially proposed 20 working days and 10 days off for miners working on shifts at remote mine sites.

But with mine accidents increasing in 2018 and 2019, the MEGM submitted a petition, signed by 3,400 miners, calling on the government to change the roster work to 14/14. The union argued that longer working days would deprive the miners of rest time and compromise safety at mines.

The MEGM also cautioned the government about social issues arising from the longer work shifts, like increasing divorce and suicide rates.

In addition to the work roster, a new provision giving the workers the right to refuse unsafe work has been inserted. Workers do not need to return to work until the employers have eliminated the dangerous elements.

“This is an important victory for protecting miners’ safety and health and shows the important role of unions in shaping sustainable industrial policy and decent employment,”

says IndustriALL mining director Glen Mpufane.

A company with 20 or more workers needs to set up a labour dispute resolution commission, composed of employer and trade union representatives.

If a commission is not established, workers can refer the dispute to a local tripartite labour rights dispute settlement committee. If consensus is not reached, a complaint can be filed at the civil court.