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Ok Tedi Mining's company response

Author: Ok Tedi Mining, Published on: 19 March 2018

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Ok Tedi Mining to respond to concerns raised about the labour rights of the company's workers following termination of 191 employees in response to a protest for better work conditions and benefits.

The company responded:

"Ninety-three workers were terminated for refusal to go to work, not 191 as reported in the newspaper.

As workers were to board buses to work at start of shift, some employees refused to go to work. Senior national management were called and spoke with the protestors over a period of 3 hours, advising them to go to work and to work through the grievance procedure or risk termination. Members of the union executive attended and talked with workers advising them to go to work and follow the grievance procedure or risk termination.

53 workers refused to go to work until their demands were met. Additional buses were held for 3 hours for anyone who changed their mind. For those who did not go to work, termination letters were issued later in the day.

This process repeated for start of night shift and 40 employees decided not to attend work, again after hearing advice from management and the union.

The incoming panel who flew in the following day were advised by management of the situation and all went to work. 

Striking workers were repatriated to their home towns the following day after being allowed to collect their company provided tool kits – almost all were workshop tradesmen.

Management has met with the union executive since this incident and commitment renewed by both to follow process and continue to address issues openly and timely. The appropriate PNG labour authority was advised of the incident.

For context on employment conditions over past 3 years: the Company paid one third of wages to help all employees and families during the 8 month period 2015/16 when the Mine was temporarily closed due to dry weather/unable to operate; paid a 10% wage increase on restart after dry weather associated with a new FIFO roster; paid 2% wage increase and 7.5% bonus at end 2016 after 9 months work; paid a 25% increase in housing allowance mid - 2017, a 2% wage increase and 12% bonus at end 2017.

Ok Tedi is currently recovering from a 7.5 magnitude earthquake which shut down operations a week ago, damaging roads and pipelines. No one was injured."

This is a response from the following companies: Ok Tedi Mining