A group of workers at Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM), in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, went on strike on Tuesday 28th March, demanding a wage increase and better working conditions.
According to a note from the company, the stoppage interrupted a number of activities at the mine, and the strikers “prevented colleagues who did not join the strike from working, which led the company to take security measures to protect the camp, through the Mozambican Police”.
The company warned that wildcat strikes only benefit “the illegal miners operating in the area, since the protection mechanism of the project was effectively diverted to the management of the stoppage”.
According to the note, this group of workers has not followed the established trade union process for issues of this type. MRM says it hopes that, “by working with the recognized union and state labor authorities, a solution to the situation will be found soon.”
The document also points out that MRM workers have a recognized union, which represents their interests, but this time no formal communication was made about the strike.
“We were taken by surprise with a letter from the group that only reached MRM on 27 March”, the company said. “We were forced to inform the district, provincial and national authorities about the strike, which is considered illegal”.
MRM fears that the losses resulting from the stoppage will affect the results of the next ruby auction. The ruby auctions are one of the major sources of tax revenue in Cabo Delgado.
The MRM note says that the welfare of the company’s workforce is of utmost priority, which has been proved over the years in gestures such as maintaining jobs and paying wages throughout the year-long interruption of activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic.