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Tanzanian workers seek court order against Barrick Gold

Published by MAC on 2007-11-12

Tanzanian workers seek court order against Barrick Gold

12th November 2007

Last month Barrick dubbed it an "illegal" strike:

Now, the workers are trying to stop the world's biggest gold mining company from hiring "scabs" to replace them.

Tanzania union seeks court order blocking Barrick hiring

By George Obulutsa

NAIROBI, (Reuters)

12th November 2007

A union representing striking workers at Tanzania's Bulyanhulu gold mine, owned by Canada's Barrick Gold Corp said on Monday it will seek a court order to stop Barrick's Tanzanian arm recruiting new staff.

The strike at the mine began on Oct. 25 when the firm said about 1,000 of its 1,971 workers had walked off the job in what the world's leading gold producer called an illegal action.

Last week, a Barrick spokesman in Tanzania said the company would eventually have to hire other workers to replace them.

Mbaraka Igangula, head of the Tanzania Mines and Construction Workers Union (TAMICO), said on Monday that his union would go to court to stop Barrick hiring miners before striking workers' concerns were heard by a mediator on Nov. 29.

"We are trying to get a court injunction. I think today we'll be through with it, and meanwhile we are waiting for the arbitrator," Igangula told Reuters by phone from Dar es Salaam.

Among workers' complaints are inequalities in salaries between foreign and local workers and non-payment of health and risk allowances and bonuses to local workers.

The union says its strike is legal and will continue until its demands are met. Barrick says TAMICO called the strike without informing management, and despite having reached a mediated deal with the company on terms for labour discussions.

Last week, Barrick said some of the mine was still working, but almost no gold has been produced since the strike began.

Barrick has two other operational gold mines in Tanzania, and is developing a third one as well as a nickel mine. Its shares were trading at 42.52 Canadian dollars by 1340 GMT, compared with Friday's close of 42.91 dollars.

Tanzania is Africa's third-biggest gold producer. The precious metal is one of its main foreign exchange earners, having fetched about $1.8 billion in the year ending in August, according to the central Bank of Tanzania. (Editing by Daniel Wallis, Editing by Peter Blackburn)


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