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Philippines: Mine workers meet to discuss Just Transition

15.06.2018

IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in the Philippines, as well as other workers’ groups in the mining sector, took part in the regional mining industry tripartite council planning meeting for the Caraga Region on 5 and 6 June 2018 in the city of Tagaytay.  

Caraga, on the Philippine island of Mindanao,has the world’s biggest iron deposit, and the world’s second biggest nickel deposit. The mineral reserves in Caraga have been estimated to be worth around US$10 billion.

Harnessing the minerals and mineral products properly and productively, presents a huge potential for the Philippine economy and employment. But currently, the mining sector’s contribution to the country’s economic growth is still low. Formal and informal employment in the metal extraction sector contributes to 0.5 per cent of the labour force, with about 204,185 workers in the mining and quarrying sector in 2016. Employment in the sector has been declining over the years. In addition, many of the jobs are precarious and working conditions are worsening.

This situation prompted IndustriALL mining affiliates to participate in the Just Transition dialogue initiated by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Mining is a temporary land use activity and dependent on finite resources, making closure of mining operations inevitable. That means a need for comprehensive and coherent policies and measures to address the challenges faced by the sector, and its turn workers and communities.

The workers’ group proposed a comprehensive Just Transition policy framework for workers in Caraga, amidst restrictive government regulations and eventual end of mine life. It marks a decisive intervention by IndustriALL’s mining affiliates to influence policy and the important meeting.

Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL’s director for mining, said:

“Just Transition is a policy proposal concept developed by global unions. It is essentially a safeguard and adaptive measures to mitigate the harsh consequences of any transition as a result of climate change and other production or operational redesign or re-engineering.”

The COP 21 Paris Agreement makes reference to Just Transition measures following efforts of the ILO, IndustriALL Global Union and the ITUC. 

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