Alcoa has been mining bauxite for 50 years, shipping it to the US for processing. In the 1950s, the company built a hydroelectric dam, a refinery and a smelter to produce aluminium in Suriname. At the time, Alcoa entered into a 75-year agreement with Suriname’s government, the Brokopondo agreement.
For Suriname, bauxite provided a much-needed opportunity to create jobs, develop skills and generate foreign earnings. However, a big company in a small country, Alcoa had the negotiating power to impose a deal benefitting them at the expense of the state.
In exchange, Alcoa committed to maintain operations in the country until 2033 – a promise broken already in 2015 when the refinery was closed. Along with broken promises, Alcoa left behind a broken economy and broken communities.
A tentative exit deal reached with Alcao has been rejected by unions and civil society. Critics say the committee tasked with reaching the agreement has served as a mouthpiece for the company rather than defending the interests of the country.
Calling on Alcoa to come back to the negotiation table
During IndustriALL’s Caribbean meeting, in Paramaribo, Suriname on 12-13 November attended by Minister of Labour Soewarto Moestadja, IndustriALL reiterated the demands of its affiliate C-47 for a fair deal for Suriname and for the workers.
“Alcoa would never have accepted that Suriname opted out of the agreement. There needs to be an exit agreement that takes into account the interests of the people of Suriname”
said IndustriALL regional officer Laura Carter.
The meeting adopted a statement calling for
- a new commission, where labour is represented
- a strong alternative to the Brokopondo agreement, taking into account the impact on labour, the environment and energy liabilities that Alcoa is leaving behind
IndustriALL Global Union has also condemned Alcoa for its attacks on workers in Spain, Australia and Canada.
Disclaimer: All third-party opinions expressed via IASWI accounts linked to and from this page are those of the individuals concerned and do not necessarily represent those of IASWI or its affiliates. No copyright infringement is intended nor implied. To discuss this disclaimer or the removal of appropriate credit for materials of which you hold copyright please contact us. All the third party videos and contents found on workers-iran.org is not hosted on our servers; all third party videos or contents are hosted on a third party site. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and news sources on the www.workers-iran.org do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the IASWI or official policies of the IASWI. These posts are only generated for the purpose of information sharing on the labour related issues.