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Unions demand sincere dialogue with Glencore ahead of AGM

25 May, 2023Ahead of Glencore’s AGM on 26 May, IndustriALL Global Union brought together representatives from trade unions at Glencore operations around the world, as well as from communities touched by the Swiss mining company’s blatant lack of willingness to address serious environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues across its global operations for a pre-AGM. 

Over the last ten years, Glencore has collected a long list of atrocities, including corruption, workers’ rights violations, harm to indigenous communities, undermining just transition and silencing critics.  

Today’s pre-AGM, aimed at the investor community, heard accounts of how Glencore operates on the ground. 

IndustriALL mining director Glen Mpufane, said:

“Glencore paints a beautiful self-portrait, speaking of how they source responsibly, operates ethically and contributes to local development, of how they support global decarbonization engaging their stakeholders and creating value for their investors. This is pure spin and greenwashing, because today you will experience something completely different. What Glencore says and does is real fact versus fiction.”

Juan Carlos Solano from IndustriALL Colombian affiliate SINTRACARBON described poor working conditions at Cerrejon mine.

“Workers suffer harassment and are becoming ill. There are salary inequalities, and it is disgusting how they manage interns. We ask Glencore to respect us and engage with us but they only care about profits.”

Hilda Arrieta representing the Women’s Network of El Paso, in Colombia, expressed how Glencore has turned her community into a ghost town. 

“They closed the Prodeco coal mine in 2021 without a proper social plan in place. We are the mothers of children who have turned to drugs and prostitution because there are no opportunities for them. We cannot just sit back and watch this happening to our children and our community.”

The meeting heard how Glencore denies contract workers the freedom to join unions, collective bargaining and health and safety rights.

Itumeleng Motsusi from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), an IndustriALL affiliate, in South Africa, said

“Glencore arbitrarily imposes shift roster changes and threatens retrenchments when the union questions them about it.”

Stakeholders at today’s meeting asked for a sincere dialogue with the company. 

“We need a frequent dialogue with the highest level of management at Glencore. Glencore needs to respect all stakeholders and not just the shareholders. Their damaging ways of operating affect our workers, our environment, and our communities,” 

said Dominic Lemieux, co-chair of the mining and DGOJP sector.

“Glencore’s investors are increasingly listening to voices other than that of the company, and they’re becoming aware that there’s a big gap between corporate rhetoric and the reality on the ground. In the pre-AGM today, shareholders had an important opportunity to hear about how Glencore’s operations have caused lasting harm to the lives of people in multiple countries. Hearing such direct testimony will help investors in their crucial work of holding Glencore accountable for its impacts,”

said Liz Umlas, senior adviser on capital strategies, IndustriALL.

Union and community representatives will attend tomorrow’s AGM and voice their issues and fight for a seat at the table.