July 9, 2020

Workers shut down Suriname gold mine

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rosebel_miningBy Ivan Cairo From Caribbean News Now

PARAMARIBO, Suriname — Disgruntled over the way the management wants to sever the relationship with over 150 employees, workers shut down operations at the Rosebel Gold Mine (RGM) in Suriname early Tuesday morning. RGM is a subsidiary of Toronto-based gold producer IamGold.

Lloyd Read, president of the Rosebel Gold Mine Workers Union (RGWB), said that refusal of the RGM management to appear before the National Mediation Council (BR) on Monday was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He argued that, just as workers and unions, also companies and employers should abide by the rules and regulations in Suriname.

“Nobody here is above the law,” said the union leader.

Buses carrying workers from the capital Paramaribo to the mine site in Rosebel, Brokopondo, some 100 kilometers south of the capital were prevented from leaving. Meanwhile, operations at the mine and the mill at Rosebel came to a halt. Disgruntled workers who got a pink slip held a protest demonstration at RGM headquarters in the capital, blocking roads in a bid to attract attention to their situation.

It is unclear for union leader Read why the RGM management failed to attend the meeting with the mediation council. The union is furious over the treatment employees are receiving from the company. Workers who have served the company for more than 15 years received word of termination of their contract when they were on leave in the capital.

“Even pregnant workers received this treatment,” said Read.

Recently, the RGM management informed the government that due to the falling gold price and increased production costs, the company is forced to lay off at least ten percent or approximately 170 of the workers. According to the management, already 85 workers have accepted the severance offer and, dependent on the number of years with the company, workers are receiving between US$10,000 and US$50,000, including health insurance until April 2016 and beyond.

Earlier RGM’s general manager Suresh Kalathil said that the lay-off is a last resort measure the company is compelled to make in the face of current market conditions. The industry faces a significant decrease in global gold prices, lower production levels and higher production costs.

IMAGE: Rosebel Gold Mine. Photo: Wikimedia/CC

For more on this story go to: http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Workers-shut-down-Suriname-gold-mine-28531.html

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