Source: Sudbury Star
April 16, 2010
Steelworkers and other labour groups across the world are stepping up their attacks against Vale with the release of a report they say documents the suffering of workers at the hands of the Brazil-based mining giant.
"Our union members and our communities have been suffering Vale's autocratic behavior and we fully support and stand in solidarity with all those who have suffered from the heavy-handed business practices of Vale," Leo Gerard, the international president of the United Steelworkers, said in a release. The 80-page report, called Report of the Impact and Violations of Vale in the World,was to be released in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.
Cory McPhee, Vale Inco's vice-president, corporate affairs, said Steelworkers were free to travel the world and criticize the company, but that it won't help end the nine-month labour dispute in Greater Sudbury.
"We would prefer that they focus their efforts on Sudbury and what's required to get us a deal that allows us to have a long-term and sustainable future," McPhee said.
Representatives from labour unions, fishermen, rural workers and leaders of traditional communities in areas around the world where Vale has mining operations issued the report. They said it documents specific cases and details the impacts caused by Vale and its international business activities.
In Canada, Vale -- the second largest mining company in the world -- owns Vale Inco, a nickel miner. More than 3,200 Steelworkers in Greater Sudbury, Port Colborne and Voisey's Bay, NL, have been on strike since the summer in a dispute over pensions, the nickel price bonus and transfer rights.
No talks are planned and Vale Inco said it plans to resume full production, with or without the striking Steelworkers.
Known as "Those Affected by Vale", the group of 150 represent ati v es from Peru, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Indonesia, New Caledonia, Mozambique, as well as 10 states of Brazil and observers from France, the United States and Germany, are meeting for the first time to disc
uss common strategies to resist what they called "the company's aggressive business practices."
Last week, participants joined two caravans travelling to cities and states in the north and southeast of Brazil. They have talked with local unions of Vale employees and representat i ve s from communities affected by Vale projects to gain first-hand understanding of their issues.
The report was to be delivered to the board of directors of Vale and to the United Nations. Brazilian government bodies such as the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the National Bank of Economic and Social Development -- funder of large enterprises of Vale -- will also receive a copy of the report.
In its pursuit of rapid growth, Vale has become consumed with profits, the group said.
Those Affected by Vale said it's giving a voice to a diverse cross-section of global society "who have tired of suffering from violations of rights and irreversible social and environmental impacts at the hand of Vale."
Striking Steelworkers in Canada employed by Vale "are joining in solidarity with victims of pollution and contamination of their water supply and developing common strategies to reinforce the local campaigns and develop global movements to lead the company to answer for their violations at an international level."Article ID# 2537643