AngloGold signs Global Labour Agreement [ICEM] -- With Comment
hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Sun Sep 15 05:26:47 MDT 2002
Note by Hunterbear:
Quick thoughts on an Idaho morning with coyotes howling and cold wind
I have to say that, if I'm deeply suspicious, highly cynical, and directly
opposed to capitalism generally, it's all -- personally for me, anyway --
magnified "a thousandfold" when it comes to mining companies. That applies
to coal and "chemical" operations [of which I know very little personally]
and to uranium outfits [of which I know a good deal more] and to metal
mining corporations [of which I know considerable.]
I don't profess to be an expert on Africa in any sense or even on most of
the world beyond North America. But the utterly nefarious nature and
character of the mining corporations obviously transcends any specific
As does the inherent and increasingly functional solidarity of workers.
And what I do know is that, from the standpoint of exploitation of people
and earth and resources, the metal mining bosses [and the mining honchos
generally], their corporate machinery, and their political allies make up a
complex of predatory and ruthless exploitation of People and Earth that
epitomizes every poisonous component in the distilled essence of the avarice
of capitalism -- and all of its related wicked works and ways.
That applies to Phelps Dodge Copper and to Falconbridge Nickel and to
AngloGold -- and to any small hard-rock mining operation in, say, the
Southwestern mountains of the 'States that employs only a couple of hundred
And to all the others.
I've never known a mining outfit to make any concession of any kind unless
it was doing so under the pressures of worker solidarity and/or for its own
self-serving reasons. And if this applies to capitalism generally -- as it
definitely does -- it certainly epitomizes the mining bosses to their very
It's obvious that, in addition to feeling the powerful effects of the
solidarity of workers and their allies and global exposure, AngloGold with
this agreement is clearly taking a view that spots nationalization as a very
likely piece of the scenery -- eventuality -- in its future. And it's
trying to head that off, or at least buy substantial time.
So this agreement can be viewed as an important short-term victory for the
workers and their environs -- but I'd be much surprised if many at all see
it as any shiny and ultimate Mountain Top. [And I'd also be surprised if
anyone reading this disagreed with me.]
And the River of Socialization and its emergent nationalization/worker
democracy continues to flow and take shape -- and it always will.
I certainly remain convinced that the Red Dawn will come over the Rockies.
[And, as I consistently have since the '50s, I'm still showing "Salt of the
Fraternally / In Solidarity -
AngloGold signs Global Labour Agreement
Historic first for mining and Africa
13 September 2002 ]
In a historic first for the global mining industry, the world's leading gold
producer, Anglogold and the 20-million strong international trade union
federation, ICEM signed an agreement on the promotion and implementation of
good human and industrial relations. The agreement, applicable to all
Anglogold mines worldwide organised by ICEM affiliates, was signed at the
company's Johannesburg headquarters today.
The key theme underlining the agreement is the "development and
sustainability of the gold mining industry worldwide" and in upholding and
implementing "good human resources and industrial relations practices". The
promotion and respect for human and trade union rights, health and safety,
environmental protection and the promotion of good relationships with local
mine communities are pivotal to the agreement.
The agreement will be signed by Anglogold CEO, Bobby Godsell, Fred Higgs,
General Secretary of the ICEM) and Senzeni Zokwana, President of the ICEM's
South African-based affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM),
which facilitated the negotiations leading to agreement.
Human and trade union rights, safety and training provisions of the new
global agreement are specifically linked to the international standards set
by the Conventions of the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO,
commonly referred to as the ILO core labour standards. The linkage to ILO
standards is an important yardstick. It also ensures that the agreement is
fully compatible with the UN's Global Compact initiative and will help to
give further substance to the agreement.
"This is a major breakthrough for Africa and a giant step forward for the
global mining industry. It acknowledges the importance of social dimensions
of sustainable development, hot on the heels of the UN World Summit held
only a few days ago in Johannesburg", said ICEM General Secretary Fred
Anglogold has mining operations in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Mali,
Namibia, Tanzania, USA, Zimbabwe and off course South Africa. "It ensures
that ICEM-affiliated unions are fully recognised in the company's operations
worldwide, and gives them a proper say implementing industrial relations
"I congratulate both our South African affiliate, the NUM and Anglogold
management for their far-sightedness and providing leadership by example for
the rest of the industry," Higgs added. "We already have global agreements
with the energy multinationals Statoil, Endesa, paper giant Norske Skog and
the materials multinational Freudenberg. Others are currently under
discussion. Globally mining is dominated by a few powerful multinationals.
In their own interests, as well as those of their workers, we urge them to
follow the example set by the South Africans."
Link to the Agreement:
Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (strawberry socialism)
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