Ramu mine breaches PNG industrial lawPublished by MAC on 2007-02-05
Ramu mine breaches PNG industrial law
5th Februar y2007
LABOUR and Industrial Relations Secretary David Tibu is prepared to shut the operations of the Ramu nickel/cobalt mine if the Chinese developer fails to follow certain directives.
Mr Tibu told the Post-Courier on Saturday if the company did not implement within 21 days his five-page directive, he would shut down the project until the directives are followed.
He said the working and living conditions of the local employees at the Basamuk camp was far below human standards and he directed they be addressed within 21 days from January 17.
Mr Tibu said the conditions were not that of the country’s biggest project ever undertaken and was far below any minimum human standard.
“I will only be administrating the laws I am empowered (to) … I am the chief inspector of the occupational health and safety standards.”
The 21 days will lapse on Wednesday and Mr Tibu said he would make another visit to make sure his directives were being implemented.
A disappointed Secretary said both China and Papua New Guinea were members of the International Labour Organisation and the Chinese Government must respect the international labour laws.
Among the directives, Mr Tibu, through his delegate in Madang, wants the company to establish a wage structure which will meet the requirements of workers who are in the semi-skilled, skilled, supervisors, foreman, administration and executive positions.
He also directed the company cease to pay employees across the board, K10 per day irrespective of what they do. He said the mine employees were being forced to work in excess of minimum legal hours of work and overtime was not being paid.
Other directives are that:
* THE management is required to immediately construct national workers living quarters at the present company staff quarters. These living quarters should be permanent buildings with power, adequate beds and other necessities.
* THE company is also directed to construct a permanent messing facility with all the other equipment including proper drinking water.
*l ABLUTION facilities should be provided for male and female and hold adequate number of shower blocks and toilets with a ratio of 10 to one. The toilet blocks be septic and should be roomed to provide privacy.
* RELOCATE rubbish dumping grounds.
* TRANSPORT should be provided to and from work for local employees who travel four hours each day from the village and back after work.
* WORKERS must be protected with insurance cover.
* THE non-citizen supervisors are to immediately stop forcing workers from undertaking unsafe or tasks considered as high risk.
* THE company is to engage a recognised catering contractor to provide catering services.
Wages paid in tinned fish
Employees at the Ramu nickel/cobalt mine are being paid tinned fish and rice in lieu of overtime payment.
And they have open pit toilets without roofs and walls for privacy with faeces exposed, causing a health hazard, Secretary for Labour and Industrial Relations David Tibu said at the weekend.
Mr Tibu has given the developer 21 days to address these and other issues which he said were far below human decency standards.
He had made a surprise visit to the Basamuk campsite. He, said both male and female local employees were expected to squat on a higher platform made of coconut trees and excrete through the trunks and into an open pit.
He said employees, out of embarrassment, were using the nearby bushes and that was even worse for the country’s biggest project.
Mr Tibu said the Chinese developer did not seem to have any standards and he would not allow his countrymen and women to be used as slaves.