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File photo: DW
Former Vale workers say they are on strike because they have not been notified either about the Vale sale process or about the transfer of the Moatize coal mine to Vulcan Resources.
They claim that they don’t know anyone connected to the new employer, and that there is no communication between the two parties, not least because the Vale brand is still evident in all work equipment.
“It looks like they want to sell us”
Furthermore, they fear for the future in the company, as they do not know the behaviour and requirements of the new owners of one of the largest open-pit coal mines in the world, according to a workers’ representative who prefers to remain anonymous for fear of company reprisals.
“They said that it started working on the 25th, but we noticed the presence of this company since the beginning of this year, it was already operating here, but this new company never approached us to even introduce itself, to know who the workers of this company are,” he told DW.
The workers’ representative added that “we cannot be sold”, in an allusion to what happened with the company.
“And even the company Vale, which owns this mine, never fired us, never came to say anything about this sale. So, as workers, we think that it’s not right. It seems they want to sell us the way they sold the machines, the land and the coal. We are not coal,” he stresses.
The sale of Vale’s mines in Tete, the railway line and the port structure in Nacala, for a total amount of €257 million, was concluded at the end of April, with the approval of the Mozambican government, which will receive capital gains revenue from the deal.
The company passes and the workers stay
Approached by DW, lawyer Roberto Aleluia highlights the lack of knowledge on the part of the employees and entrusts remedial action to the Minister of Labour and Social Security, as a case that affects the country generally.
“This would be the right time for the Minister of Labour, Her Excellency Margarida Talapa, to come with the utmost urgency and arrange a meeting with the workers,” he appealed.
The lawyer also warns that the strike could harm the workers themselves. “It appears that the workers are right, but in fact, they are not, and it seems that the state itself did not provide the proper information. As for the company transaction, the staff also passes to the new company. In other words, those workers who are there will retain their rights, benefits and the same contracts,” he says.
So far, no government authority has commented on the case. In a statement, Vulcan Resources expressed its readiness to interacting with workers, as well as to continuing to exploiting coal in Moatize.