From the TUC

Glencore: unions protest at mining multinational’s misdemeanours

10 Dec 2014, By Guest

This week Unite will be joined by representatives of the United Steelworkers from the USA who have been locked out by their company Sherwin Alumina, in Gregory, Texas. Their company is owned by global mining and commodities corporation Glencore. As part of Workers Uniting (the global union formed by Unite and the USW), we will be protesting against company abuses against our members and demanding an end their attack on workers and their communities.

Tomorrow, we’ll be taking our message direct to the company at a glitzy corporate event in London’s Mayfair. Given its record of abuses, it seems fitting that Glencore will use this day not to acknowledge human or worker rights, but to host an investor conference.

Last year, its net income of $4.6 billion made it the 10th largest company in the world. It is also recognised as one of the world’s most reckless corporate citizens – it has already won one ‘award’ for its business practices and is now nominated for a Public Eye Lifetime Award for its long record of irresponsible behaviour.

Glencore has been aggressively anti-union. In the USA, at its Sherwin Alumina plant, Glencore has gone so far as locking out members of the United Steelworkers (USW) cutting off their pay  cheques and blocking them from entering their worksites in order to push through severe concessions.

In South Africa and Peru, workers have been forced to go on strike to fight for basic rights like health and safety on the job, and to protest benefit cuts and the company’s violations of their collective bargaining agreements.

In Colombia, Glencore has been linked to a paramilitary group responsible for murdering trade unionists and intimidating activists. In Australia, the company has evicted former workers from company housing, causing great hardship for families and for local communities.

The company claims to value a culture of respect, yet its disregard for the rights of workers and those who live near its worksites would suggest otherwise.

Perhaps most concerning is Glencore’s reckless behaviour on health and safety. In Peru and Colombia, workplace injuries are common, and the company refuses to work with unions to address these issues. In the USA, the injury rate at Glencore’s Sherwin Alumina plant was twice the national average and now this facility is being operated by inexperienced replacement workers.

Glencore’s production and profits have risen, but that has not stopped the company from engaging in displacing communities, or trying to force radical cuts and concessions on workers. Again and again, Glencore has chosen to aggressively attack workers and disregard its neighbours rather than bargaining fairly or collaborating with local communities.

This week in London, we’re saying “no more!”

2 Responses to Glencore: unions protest at mining multinational’s misdemeanours

  1. OC Weise
    Dec 11th 2014, 4:07 am

    They told us we where family while everything was running great and they made money hand over fist . But when it came to a fair contract . It was a different story we voted NO on their personal on Oct. 10th and the 11th they locked us out . You don’t treat family that away .

  2. Patrick Powell
    Dec 12th 2014, 4:20 pm

    The same old story of management abusing workers’ rights. The mainstream media will not highlight this as they are owned by the rich and the poweful. Also the management didn’t need a direct secret ballot of shareholders with a minimum thereshold turnout to do this.