Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 December 2018:
Iluka Resources has reportedly restarted operations at its Sierra Rutile mining site in Sierra Leone, following the decision of the mine workers union to end their strike action and return to work.
The resumption of mining operations comes as a result of negotiations involving senior government ministers, company representatives and the workers.
Last week, Iluka issued this statement:
“His Excellency the President of Sierra Leone has intervened to assist in the resolution of the dispute. This has followed further strike action taken by the workforce.
“Following meetings on 26 November between the company’s subsidiary, Sierra Rutile Limited (SRL), the United Mineworkers’ Union and the Government of Sierra Leone, including the President, Vice President, Chief Minister and other senior ministers, the President has established a task force in support of resolving issues between the Union and SRL.
“ The Government of Sierra Leone has advised that: All mining workers must respect the rule of law and their fellow workers. The United Mineworkers’ Union and all mining companies must positively engage, consult and dialogue with one another, at all times, with respect; All mining companies must follow and observe the rules and procedures set out in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), including the provisions of the CBA, which regulate disciplinary processes, in all circumstances; Discipline in all mining operations is paramount to ensure the safe and efficient production of minerals for the benefit of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
“The process to restart operations at Sierra Rutile has commenced and Iluka expects mining operations to resume in the next few days.
“The impact on Iluka’s rutile production and sales commitments will be dependent on the time required to return to full operations but is likely to be around the low end of the guidance range of 125 – 130 thousand tonnes of rutile advised to the market on 31 October 2018.”
This latest strike action is the second this year. Three months ago, operations at Sierra Rutile came to a standstill, following the decision of mine workers to stage a walk out.
Rutile export is a major revenue stream for the government of Sierra Leone.
I speculate the Union is trying to do their job and many times government officials want to undermine the Union functions by taking bribes and render the Union ineffective. The Union is the only way for the workers to express their grievances and the workers must not feel threatened by any union member nor by any government official.
You put your mouth where you put your money so nobody should be scared to say anything to Union members, and if the workers ascertain any malpractices, they must challenge it. Union must also see into the health and well-being of its members by working with the Company to build health care center or a clinic for its workers and their families. The Union must work for the benefit of its members otherwise they must be fired.
Ok if they find a good agreement, but what have been the claims of the workers and the union? There is nothing written about this in this article.