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Union at Peru’s Antapaccay Mining Company rejects change to shift system

23 May, 2023The union of Antapaccay Mining Company workers (SITRAMINA) is seeking to reverse the change in the company’s shift system. It claims that the new shift pattern is a major health and safety risk and will have a negative impact on workers' family lives.

SITRAMINA, part of the Peruvian National Miners’ and Metal Workers’ Union (FNTMMSP), affiliated to IndustriALL, rejected the decision taken by Antapaccay Mining Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Glencore, to unilaterally change shift systems for its supervisory staff.

The union lodged a complaint with the labour authorities, requesting that the measure be declared inadmissible for not complying with legal requirements. The case will be one of many issues raised by a delegation of trade unions and civil society organizations at Glencore's annual general meeting of shareholders on 26 May. They say it is proof of a company-wide problem in the way Glencore manages its operations.

Antapaccay Mining Company decided to stop the ten days on, ten days off (10x10) system in place during the COVID-19 pandemic and revert to the 8x6 system used prior to 2020. The mining company said the new shift system would ensure that there is an in-person handover, now that the World Health Organization has declared the global health emergency to be over.

However, SITRAMINA argues that the new approach poses a major health and safety risk and will adversely affect workers’ personal lives. The union argues that the online handover process in place for three years worked very well. It also says that the 8x6 system will increase the amount of travel workers will have to do – travel that is unpaid and extremely tiring.

It takes employees seven hours to reach the mine, and they must report to work at 5:00am the following morning. Under the 10x10 system, workers got to their rooms at 11:30pm. Under the 8x6 system, however, they get to their rooms at 3:00am, which means they only have two hours to rest before they have to start work. According to the union, this violates the company's own fatigue and drowsiness policy, which sets a mandatory six-to-eight-hour sleep period.

"The company failed to consult with the union, in breach of Article 2 of Supreme Decree 007-2002-TR (Law on Working Time, Working Hours and Overtime Work), which establishes mandatory consultation and negotiation with the workers impacted by the measure.

Moreover, Peruvian case law establishes that it is discriminatory to change working times for only one group of workers, as is the case at Antapaccay (the change affects only supervisory personnel, not operators),”

said IndustriALL’s general secretary Atle Høie in a letter to Glencore CEO Gary Nagle.

Høie asked Nagle to take steps to ensure proper negotiations between management and the union in order to find a solution that benefits both parties.