The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 71/No. 37      October 8, 2007

On the Picket Line
Gold Miners strike
in Papua New Guinea

SYDNEY, Australia—Miners at the Lihir gold mine located on Lihir Island northeast of Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, walked off the job on August 31. The mine owned by Lihir Gold Ltd. is one of the largest gold mining operations in the world.

Among the issues raised by miners were layoffs, safety problems, and unequal pay and conditions among workers, with native Papua New Guineas at the bottom.

Armed police were flown in to “protect the mine” on the third day of the strike. The miners returned to work on September 7 after the company’s chief executive agreed to discuss their demands. During the strike workers formed the Lihir Gold Allied Workers Union.

—Alasdair McDonald

Construction workers in Canada
protest antiunion laws

VANCOUVER, British Columbia—Chanting “Rights, right now!” and “Change the law!” more than 400 Alberta construction workers and representatives from dozens of other unions marched on the Alberta provincial legislature September 13 to protest laws aimed at preventing construction strikes.

In Alberta, if three-quarters of construction unions reach contract settlements, the other unions lose their right to strike. Because 19 of 25 construction unions have settled, strikes by any of the remaining unions have been declared illegal. These include 4,000 carpenters—who had voted 97 percent to strike—pipefitters, laborers, and plumbers.

Workers at protest actions explained that Alberta’s labor laws pit union against union. Enough unions, they explained, get offered more money than others to ensure the 75 percent threshold is always met. “It’s all about divide and conquer,” said pipefitter Michael Dunn.

—Steve Penner  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home