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Part E: Local Development, Labour, Health and Safety | 41. Labour

Labour as it pertains to the mining sector generally covers the legal and human rights that govern the labour relations between workers and employees. These rights, detailed in international as well as national labour and/or employment laws, usually address issues such as the negotiation of workers’ pay, benefits, safe working conditions, and rules regarding the organizing of labour unions. Labour can be a sensitive issue in the mining industry, as the perceived or actual failure to uphold relevant rights can strain not only worker and company interactions, but also those with local communities around the mining site (such as in the case of community exposure to toxic pollution). In addition to basic rights and duties, effective management of labour concerns also includes creating and maintaining an environment that prevents forced labour and child labour.

From the government perspective, in order to minimize or eliminate harm to citizens as well as business disruptions, a strong legal framework of labour and employment laws is crucial. In addition to labour issues addressed in the primary mining law, this framework must also include specific regulations that are tailored to the context of work in the mining sector, such as those addressing health and safety precautions in detail. Companies also play a role in strengthening the labour environment critical to site operations by establishing clear company-wide policies that reflect international and national best practice, spelling out the rights and obligations of all stakeholders at a mining site and ensuring that all staff, regardless of contract type, are familiar with the relevant policies.