December 5th, 2014800 workers at the Koornfontein mine in Mpumalanga, South Africa, have been on strike since 17 October, protesting against substandard severance payments.
Mining giant Glencore had offered the workers one week of service per year in the Koornfontein mine, and in other operations it would pay three weeks. Workers in Koornfontein not only have to deal with losing their jobs but also an unfair settlement for the many years they produced coal for Glencore.
IndustriALL Global Union affiliate National Union of Mineworkers’ (NUM) General Secretary Frans Baleni says Glencore refuses to pay a decent retrenchment package:
“Contrary to the practice in the industry of two weeks for each completed year of service Glencore wants to pay one week for each completed year of service. We are mobilising our international unions affiliated to IndustriALL to join us in attacking this unacceptable conduct.”
In an effort to find a solution and end the strike, the NUM has involved a mediating party. But at a meeting on 24 November Glencore failed to meet the union’s revised proposals.
"Today marks the 49th day of the peaceful strike fighting a multinational company refusing to pay a decent retrenchment package to workers, claiming that it does not want to set a precedent," Frans Balen continues.
"The retrenched workers have zero chance of employment post retrenchment. This is an essence a death sentence and the NUM will fight tooth and nail to make sure our members get what they demand.”
IndustriALL Director of mining Glen Mpufane says:
”Glencore’s refusal to work with trade unions to find a reasonable solution to this conflict is outrageous. We fully support the fight of the miners and urge Glencore to settle this matter urgently.”
The NUM conflict is one of five conflicts currently running at Glencore operations in Peru, Colombia, Australia, and the USA. IndustriALL will mount a global response to Glenocore's union busting agenda.