The London Mines and Money conference bills itself as the largest mining conference in Europe “where deals get done” between miners and investors. The protest at the conference coincided with a keynote address by far-right, xenophobic former leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage.
The conference nominated Glencore for the “miner of the year” award.
It’s disgraceful that Glencore would be considered for a miner of the year award while it’s attacking workers and their unions around the world. Glencore has established itself as one of the worst violators of workers’ rights among the major mining and metals companies. That’s why unions at Glencore have launched a global campaign against the company,
said IndustriALL campaigns director Adam Lee speaking at the conference protest.
Glencore has locked out CFMEU union members in Australia since May, after they took industrial action against the company’s attempts to replace them with contractors.
According to some media reports, Glencore secretly worked with a notorious middleman implicated in massive bribes to win the Katanga copper and cobalt concession in DRC. At least seven workers were killed at this mine in 2016.
Glencore’s Cerrejón mine in Colombia was fined 2 billion pesos in 2016 for using illegal and excessive subcontracting.
IndustriALL affiliate National Union Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is planning mass actions against Glencore for failing to pay a living wage to workers at its smelters.
IndustriALL, London Mining Network, War on Want and others followed the conference protest with a “toxic tour” through the heart of London’s finance and mining district, stopping for loud demonstrations at offices of a number of companies including Glencore.
Clemente Bautista Jr of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment spoke at the protest about their campaign against Glencore’s landgrabbing and mass displacement of people for its copper-gold mining project in the Philippines. Kalikasan PNE succeeded in forcing Glencore to abandon this project in 2015.
Unions with membership at Glencore’s operations worldwide meeting at the IndustriALL Executive Committee in November decided to organize a global day of action at Glencore on 10 December International Human Rights Day to demand that Glencore stop violating workers’ human rights.
IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan said:
Our campaign against Glencore is just beginning. We will fight against Glencore’s unacceptable policies and practices in London, Zug and around the world. We will work with other organizations that demand Glencore stop violating human rights, stop abusing communities and stop damaging the environment. Together we will force Glencore to behave like the responsible company it claims to be.
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