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Liberian labor movement pledges support to campaign for justice at Vale

D 27 août 2010     H 22:37     A     C 0 messages


SteelOrbis - A United Steelworkers (USW) delegation led by International Vice President for Human Affairs Fred Redmond Monday announced that it has completed a series of meetings with government and labor officials and other groups in Liberia regarding the possibility of Vale conducting business in their country. The Brazilian-based corporation, the second largest mining company in the world, is negotiating with the Liberian government to construct a railway to transport iron ore deposits from Simandou, Guinea to a seaport in Liberia. Vale has already spent $2.5 billion to obtain the iron ore concession in Guinea.

Vale’s expansion plans have already come under fire in Liberia. The Forestry, Logging and Industrial Workers Union of Liberia (FLIWUL) sent a letter to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on May 13 calling on her government to conduct "due diligence," citing Vale’s record of "abusing workers and communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America".

The USW delegation met with the Ministers of Land, Mines and Energy ; Labor and Public Works in addition to various trade unions. The delegation was assured by government officials that it intends to negotiate a sustainable agreement which respects the rights of the Liberian people.

Vale has been the target of public accountability campaigns in Brazil, Canada, Mozambique and Indonesia. Community groups, environmental organizations and trade unions have joined forces to create the Communities Affected by Vale, a coalition which brings together more than 80 organizations from a dozen countries where Vale has allegedly polluted the environment, displaced communities and violated workers rights.

Unions in Liberia have vowed to closely monitor the negotiations between Vale and the government and are demanding that any deal be submitted to the public for debate and approval.

"FLIWUL will be closely monitoring the progress toward any agreement," said David Sackoh, Secretary General of FLIWUL. "We must ensure that the process is transparent and that there are full protections for the interests of our people."

"Liberia needs investment and we welcome the creation of jobs, but we need decent jobs which will lead to local prosperity and not just the exploitation of our land and the export of our country’s wealth."

Source from : news.alibaba.com