26 Aug 2017 Ferado

Trade union signs strong collective agreement with Turkish glass company

GEORGIA: After more than a year of negotiations, a collective agreement for the Ksani glass container factory in Georgia was signed.

On 22 August, the fifth round of negotiations was held to sign a collective agreement at the glass container factory in Ksani (JSC MINA), owned by the Turkish company Şişecam Glass Packaging Group.

IndustriALL affiliate the Trade Union of Metallurgy, Mining and Chemical Industry Workers of Georgia (TUMMCIWG) concluded the collective agreement with a significant package of social benefits. There are 220 workers at the plant. The collective agreement provides the following for TUMMCIWG members:

Compensation for night work, overtime and working on public holidays at a premium rate;
An annual wage rise, based on an index linked to the inflation rate. Salary will be indexed from 2016.
Financial assistance for childbirth, marriage or the death of a close relative to the amount of 500 GEL (US $207);
Monthly financial assistance to large families for every child under 18 years to the amount of 30 GEL (US $ 12) from 1 October 2017.

In addition, a bonus system will be launched from 1 January 2018. Trade union representatives will have the opportunity to present their own remarks and opinions.

This is the third collective agreement in the metallurgical, mining and chemical industry sector after Rustavi Azot and Zestafoni ferroalloy factory. The company accepted the idea of a collective agreement after a month-long strike of 170 workers in February 2016 that paralyzed operations at the plant.

The first two meetings of the union and the plant management were held in Georgia, but because of the strictly centralized structure of the Şişecam company, the general director of the plant could not take a decision on the conclusion of a collective agreement.

On 19 April, the owner invited five representatives of the TUMMCIWG to its head office in Istanbul, Turkey. The meeting made a breakthrough in the negotiations which resulted in the conclusion of a collective agreement.

The president of the TUMMCIWG Tamaz Dolaberidze stated:

“I would like to thank everybody who has been involved in the collective negotiation process. I would like to thank all the employees of the enterprise from which we felt a great deal of support during this period, it gave us great inspiration to move ahead. I appreciate the support of IndustriALL Global Union, whose leaders have visited Georgia several times during the collective negotiations and held meetings with the administration”.

26 Aug 2017 Ferado

Union condemns plans to cut 4,700 jobs at Glencore’s Mopani Copper Mines

ZAMBIA: IndustriALL affiliate the Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) strongly opposes plans by Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) to sacrifice 4,700 jobs, and condemns the company’s use of intimidation and blackmail as a bargaining chip.

The union said the proposed retrenchments must be stopped as they bring squalor and poverty to the mineworkers. Always keen to retrench, the company laid off 4,300 workers in 2015.

MCM, where Glencore is a majority shareholder with 73.1 per cent, wants to retrench the workers because the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) reduced its power supply from 130 to 94 megawatts following an industry-wide 30 per cent tariff increase that the company refused to pay.

The government of Zambia argued that if domestic consumers, equally affected by the increase, were paying, MCM should do the same.

Instead of retrenchments, the union demanded that MCM prioritize the interests of the workers, and follow the example of other mining companies in Zambia that dealt with the tariff increases differently.

Chisimba Nkole, MUZ and Zambian Congress of Trade Unions president said:

“We call on the government to stop MCM on the threats of job cuts, and guarantee the employment of mineworkers at Mopani. The government directed MCM and the CEC to negotiate the power increment, which is a commercial transaction, and MUZ is pleased that other mining companies have taken on board the power increment using other options rather than cutting jobs.”

Kenny Mogane, IndustriALL regional officer for Sub Saharan Africa added:

“Protecting jobs and the rights of mineworkers in Zambia is paramount, and companies like MCM should never think that it is acceptable to sacrifice so many jobs. We call upon MCM to protect jobs, respect workers’ rights, and to negotiate its power deal with the CEC without compromising workers interests.”

26 Aug 2017 Ferado

Grupo Mexico attacks Cananea workers during protest

MEXICO:Grupo Mexico has again used private security forces to evict a group of workers and former workers from the Cananea mine. The workers were protesting to demand benefits owed to them by the company.

Los Mineros, affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union, said that some demonstrators were injured in the early morning of 21 August and others were detained and taken to the local public prosecutor’s office.

“Workers and former workers were violently evicted by the company’s private security forces, armed with clubs and weapons only used by the army, just because they were protesting about the non-payment of their share in profits and other benefits owed to them by Grupo Mexico,” explained the president of Los Mineros and joint regional president of IndustriALL, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia.

The workers have been protesting for a month on the railway lines that give access to the mine. They are calling on the Grupo Mexico consortium and its owner, Germán Feliciano Larrea Mota Velasco, to pay them what the company has owed them for ten years and to improve workplace safety.

Los Mineros issued a communique repudiating the company’s attitude and point out that this act of repression violated the right to petition and protest enshrined in Mexican legislation.

“Its aggressive and repressive conduct and the killings that have made this company notorious were displayed at recent events. The government must intervene in this situation to prevent further arbitrary actions,” said the union communique.

IndustriALL’s General Secretary, Valter Sanches, said:“IndustriALL continues to firmly support Los Mineros and calls on Grupo Mexico to stop its violent union-busting practices.”

25 Aug 2017 Ferado

Nearly 250 PRTC crew protest against ‘assault’ on a colleague by private bus Staff.

A flash strike by a section of PRTC staff disrupted bus services on Thursday putting commuters and passengers to hardship.

INDIA: About 250 drivers and conductors, who were recruited to the PRCTC on contract, went on strike in protest against the alleged assault on a driver by “agents” of private bus operators near Jipmer junction on Wednesday night.

Protection sought

Several town and suburban services were disrupted between 5 a.m. and about 11 a.m.

The protesting contract staff demanded police protection to their cadre, which included women conductors, to pre-empt such attacks which were triggered by disputes over bus timing. They wanted the culprits behind the attack to be arrested.

The staff claimed that agents of private bus operators were using strong arm tactics to herd passengers away from PRCTC buses at vantage bus stops such as New Bus Stand, Indira Gandhi Statue, Anthoniyar Koil and Gorimedu.

The staff complained that whenever victims of assault or harassment preferred a police complaint action had not been taken because of the intervention of influential persons on behalf of the private operators, and this emboldened the offenders.

As the strike continued, senior officials of the PRCTC and the police held talks with representatives of the contract staff.

Assurance from police

Eventually, the staff called off the strike on the basis of assurance from the police that action would be taken to prevent such incidents.

According to a PRTC official, dispute over bus timings keep recurring and suggested stringent regulation by the Regional Transport Officer.

The registered trade unions of PRTC workers expressed solidarity with the contract employees but did not join the strike, a PRTC official said.

PRTC bus services were not affected in Karaikal, he added.

25 Aug 2017 Ferado

Sock factory fires workers on strike

BURMA: Over 200 factory workers of DJY Knitting Myanmar factory of industrial zone 3 in Hlaing Tharyar have been protesting in front of the factory since August 7. They demand the re-hiring of their leader sacked by the factory and the organising of an independent workers union, according to protesters.

“We can’t accept them should they want to get back to work because they failed to return before the deadline,” said a factory official, who asked not to be named, to the media on August 23.

The factory official added that, the strikers failed to return to work for nearly 12 days without leave requests. The factory had given them a chance on four occasions by extending the deadline several times.

The factory fired the worker’s leader who was organising the trade union on August 7. According to our source, the factory offered compensations and acted legally because the leader committed several infractions: he allegedly held a meeting with the other workers in order to create the labour union without prior notice; he missed work the following day; he enticed other workers to go on strike; and he contacted the human resources department asking for paid leave for the workers.

“We have promised to the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) to obey the laws of the country. We never violate laws because it would affect business with our clients,” a factory official said on Wednesday.

Over 200 workers went on strike on August 7 and made 17 demands relating to their labour rights. According to the factory official, workers failed to return to work even though they agreed to all 17 demands of the strikers. These demands were ratified by the signing of a labour agreement contract in front of the township labour arbitration group of the Ministry of Labour.

The strike has not ceased as protesters now demand for the re-hiring of their dismissed leader, as he is a key person for the trade union.

“We just want to form a union. Every country has labour unions. We are here to protest since they tried to break the trade union,” said one of the workers’ leaders, Phyo Ko Ko Aung, to the media on August 22.

Strikers added that they are protesting peacefully against the factory and only have two further requests: to re-hire their leader and to be able to form an independent trade union.

Protesters addressed the regional arbitration council to solve their disputes. “We will oppose the factory through the legal system since they are fighting us with laws. We only want to be allowed to form a trade union,” said protest leader Ko Soe Thura Ko, who was fired by the factory, on August 23.

The DJY knitting Myanmar Co Ltd opened in Hkaing Tharyar two years ago. The factory employs close to 400 workers and over half of them are on strike. Those who refused to join the protest argued that they must keep working to earn a living. They added that they get unsolicited pressure from the strikers whenever they come to and