Trade Unions call on Glencore to respect labour rights of direct and outsourced workers: a formal complaint was submitted to NCP's in Peru and Switzerland
Bern, 26th of May 2023 - Yesterday on the 25th of May, an alliance of trade union organisations including CNV Internationaal, Solifonds, the Swiss Trade Union Confederation SGB and the Union of Metallurgical Mining Workers of Andaychagua Volcan Mining Company and Specialized Companies, Contractors and Intermediaries met with the National Contact Point of Switzerland to announce the submission of a formal complaint against Swiss-based mining multinational Glencore.
The complaint highlights a wide range of violations of workers' rights and incompliance with Standards for Responsible Business by the The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that Glencore has carried out in their Peruvian mining operations.
The complaint will be filed on the 26th of May to the NCP in Switzerland, as well as the NCP in Peru by the Andaychagua Union and the Peruvian independent trade union organisation (CATP).
Vital metals to energy transition
Glencore's mining operations play a vital role in the energy transition that many industrialised countries endeavour on. To be able to move away from fossil fuels and increase the share of wind- and solar energy, metals are essential.
Rising demand puts enormous pressure on miners
The rising demand for metals is putting enormous pressure on (the working conditions of) mine workers. Accordingly, to guarantee decent working conditions, the work of Trade Unions is key to bargain better working and living conditions for workers in this sector.
International Due Diligence Standards
However, Glencore and its subsidiaries are blocking Unions from doing their work, and, in doing so, are failing to comply with international due diligence standards.
In the case of Peru, the Volcan Mining Company (which is owned by Glencore) continuously refuses to recognize the Andaychagua Union as a fundamental actor in collective bargaining processes, even though the Union is fully registered as a trade union organization with the Labor Authority in Peru and is part of the National Federation of Workers of Specialized and Outsourced Companies of the Mining and Metallurgical Industry of Peru (FENTECAMP), who, in turn, are affiliated to the Central Autónoma de Trabajadores del Perú (CATP) and the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUAC) and the International Trade Union Confederation (CSI).
In other words, the Andaychagua Trade Union has full recognition of the national authorities to represent all interested mine workers, whether they are directly contracted or outsourced.
However, from 2021 to present, all attempts of the Union to obtain a space for dialogue with Volcan have been systematically truncated. Because the Andaychagua Trade Union also organizes outsourced workers, the mining company argues that they are not a duly registered union. Consequently, the Union is unable to exercise its right to bargain collectively for the improvement of the working and living conditions of the workers they represent.
Volcan Mining Company is thus not only breaching Peruvian labour legislation, but also muting the voices of its workers, making them more vulnerable to occupational health and safety risks and human rights violations.
"Temporary workers are more vulnerable on all fronts: less pay, greater health and safety risks and longer work weeks. They in the first place need a union to defend their rights.”
This is especially problematic for outsourced workers, explains Maurice van Beers, Stategic Policy Lead and Reginal Coordinator Latin America of CNV Internationaal: "Temporary workers are more vulnerable on all fronts: less pay, greater health and safety risks and longer work weeks. They in the first place need a union to defend their rights.”
In a report published by CNV Internationaal and Profundo earlier this year, the working conditions of miners is shown to be troubling – especially for outsourced workers. Not only do workers experience unbearable exposure to dust, fumes and extreme temperatures, the long and irregular working hours are causing life-threatening ‘microsleeps’ when handling large mining equipment. Additionally, workers report a difference in pay between direct and outsourced workers.
What we are looking for, is that Glencore takes action to make Volcan sit down with us as soon as possible and start negotiations in good faith"
Alex Edilberto Tinoco Roman, President of the Union of Metallurgical Mining Workers of Andaychagua Volcan Mining Company and Specialized Companies, Contractors and Intermediaries presented the complaint in person to NCP representatives in Bern Thursday the 25th: a celebrative moment and a marvellous statement from and for the Peruvian mine workers of the Volcan Mining Company.
“What we are looking for, is that Glencore takes action to make Volcan sit down with us as soon as possible and start negotiations in good faith", states the Peruvian Trade Union leader. He travelled to Switzerland together with representatives of Dutch trade union organisation CNV Internationaal to raise the issue of the Volcan Mine Workers at Glencore's stakeholder meeting, which the multinational is hosting this Friday the 26th of May.
Local trade unions and organisations are also declaring their support for the case: "Glencore headquarters must finally take responsibility and make sure that the company, under its influence in Peru, upholds workers' rights and negotiate in good faith with their union,” stressed Yvonne Zimmerman, coordinator of Swiss organization Solifonds.
By presenting the complaint before the NCP 26th May, the collaborating organisations aim to draw the attention of Glencore's stakeholders and to engage with Glencore about the operations in their Volcan mines, and collectively agree on improvements.
For more information, please reach out to
Maurice van Beers
Strategic Policy Lead and Regional Coordinator Latin America at CNV Internationaal
firstname.lastname@example.org or +31 683 594 044
(Spanish, English, Dutch)
ABOUT THE NCP
The National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises promotes the observance of the Guidelines and discusses with the parties concerned all relevant issues so as to contribute to the resolution of any problems which might arise.