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Partial success for mineworkers in Pakistan

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22 April, 2013Mine workers at MMC Duddar Mine in Pakistan achieve improved safety and wages after a 9-day strike, but the company still refuses to recognize the union or reinstate 200 dismissed workers.

MMC Duddar workers in Pakistan were on strike from 5 to 14 April, which ended after the high-level intervention of the Labour Secretary and Government Officials in Baluchistan. Production work in the mine resumed on 15 April.

The strike was partially successful as the wages were raised to 400 rupees per day for 8 hours of work compared to 200 rupees per day for 12 hours of work. However, management still does not accept the legal status of the union even after the labour department and mine department have recognized the union as the sole representative of the mineworkers in Duddar.

The Labour Secretary of Balochistan has issued a notice to the company and the union representative to engage in a dialogue to settle the industrial dispute. IndustriALL affiliate, the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) will file the cases for the reinstatement of the 200 dismissed workers to the labour court, and also put forward a criminal case against the company of non-compliance with local labour regulations.

Chinese company, MMC Duddar Mineral Development Company Limited, mines for copper and other precious metals and minerals in the Duddar mountain area. Working conditions in and around the mines at the company are appalling; there are no safety measures in the workplace, which has increased the number of deaths and injuries. In response, on 23 September 2012, the workers registered their union, the Duddar Mineral Development Company Labour Union, affiliated to the NTUF. The formation of the union was initiated by the NTUF.

The union put their "Charter of Demands" to the company but management refused to recognize the union and started to harass the workers especially the union office bearers and active union members. Management then ordered to lock out 100 workers including the union office bearers. The union called for a strike when management failed to negotiate on the charter of demands.

The NTUF has called on the Interim Chief Minister of Balochistan to take immediate action and insist that the mine and mineral company obey the labour laws and accept the lawful demands of the mineworkers at Duddar mine.