Mali Miners Call Strike With Randgold and Resolute Affected

  • Largest union says workers victimized over membership
  • Country vies with Tanzania as Africa’s no. 3 gold producer

Mine workers in Mali will go on strike this month for five days as the biggest union accuse employers of treating its members unfairly due to their affiliation with the employee organization.

Workers will go on strike from Oct. 24 at mines belonging to gold producers including Resolute Mining Ltd. and Robex Resources Inc, Mahamadou Konte, a spokesman for the National Section of Mines and Industries, said by phone on Tuesday. The union is also in dispute with Randgold Resources Ltd. over unpaid productivity bonuses, Konte said.

Workers “have recently been victims of harassment because of their union membership,” he said. “Some of them may get fired, while others were refused a contract renewal.”

“We are talking to the unions on our mines,” Randgold Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said Tuesday, adding that the company had been informed of the proposed strike. “There’s a process to be followed. It’s a grievance procedure and we’ll deal with it. Unions have a right to strike.”

A call to the offices of Resolute Mining in Perth, Australia, was left unanswered after hours. Abdel Kader Maiga, general operations manager at Robex Resources in Mali, couldn’t immediately comment when contacted by phone, while an e-mailed request for comment to the group’s offices in Quebec was left unanswered.

A strike will disrupt mining output in the West Africa nation, which depends on gold and cotton for 80 percent of its exports. The country vies with Tanzania as the continent’s third-biggest gold producer after South Africa and Ghana.

The union, known as Secnami, represents 80 percent of the mining industry’s workforce, Konte said.

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