8 March 2011The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and its Goodwill Ambassador, Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino, today launched a new fund that will support groups working on the frontlines to assist the victims of human trafficking. The announcement of the Small Grants Facility for victims of human trafficking coincides with International Women’s Day, a symbolic move, according to UNODC, given that two-thirds of the victims of this $32 billion global industry are women and children.The Facility is part of the UNODC-managed UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking, which provides humanitarian, legal and financial aid through established channels of assistance, such as governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.The UN estimates that more than 2.4 million people are currently being exploited after being trafficked by unscrupulous human smugglers. The Voluntary Trust Fund, launched last November, is an important element of the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, adopted by the General Assembly in July 2010.UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov highlighted the critical steps being taken in pushing an increased victim-centred approach to human trafficking as he addressed the launch event in London. “The launch of this Small Grants Facility is the first concrete step in rolling out the UN General Assembly’s Global Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons adopted in 2010. As a coordinated and comprehensive approach to end human trafficking in all its forms, the Trust Fund will make a real difference to the lives of those who need it most.”Ms. Sorvino stressed the need to prioritize responses to victims. “Through my work in various parts of the world I have seen with my own eyes the unspeakable pain trafficking victims go through: from girls stolen from their homes or sold by their own parents into sex work, to men enslaved and made to perform torturous labour, to children whose innocence and safety are ripped from them at the hands of adults whose only concern is their profitability. “As a victims’ advocate in the fight against human trafficking, I encourage each and every person to work together in tackling this crime: modern day slavery only exists because we tolerate it.”UNODC estimates that in Europe alone, trafficking is worth an annual $3 billion, with around 140,000 people trapped in a vicious cycle of violence, abuse and degradation across the continent. “Our fellow human beings are sold like goods – it’s time we renew our stance towards this terrible practice and work to beat this crime,” said Mr. Fedotov.
Murray & Roberts Cementation Zambia was awarded a contract for shaft sinking and equipping the synclinorium shaft for Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) in Kitwe, Zambia in July 2011. In May 2012 the main sink began, and now after 19 months into the contract the shaft has reached the 700 metre mark, with project completion scheduled for June 2015. This is the second biggest contract awarded to Murray & Roberts Cementation Zambia and the first awarded to the company by MCM. In 2010 the company was awarded a decline sinking project at Konkola North, a joint venture between Vale and African Rainbow Minerals.MCM, an integrated copper and cobalt producer operating in the Zambian copperbelt, is owned by Carlisa Investments Corporation, a joint venture registered in Zambia comprising Glencore International AG (73.1%), First Quantum Minerals (16.9%) and ZCCM Investment Holdings (10%). Its operations comprise underground mines, concentrator plants, smelters and refineries located in Nkana, Kitwe and Mufulira.The Mopani Synclinorium shaft project will establish a hoisting and ventilation facility to extract ore from the Nkana Synclinorium ore body which is incorporated into the MCM complex in Kitwe, Zambia. The new shaft will enable ore production at the Nkana mines to be maintained above 4 Mt/y by 2017 and increase the life of mine by 25 years.Neil Mackay, Murray & Roberts Cementation Project Manager says “site establishment began in September 2011 with pre-sink civil work provided by Murray & Roberts group company, Concor Civils. The original contract called for blind sinking, equipping and commissioning of the 7 m diameter downcast rock hoist shaft to a depth of 1,277 m. This main shaft will be equipped as a rock hoisting shaft on the brownfields mine to service a new area under development.”Murray & Roberts Cementation Zambia has also been awarded the pre-sink contract to a depth of 50 m of an associated 6 m diameter upcast ventilation shaft that will reach a depth of 1,166 m.The shaft is being sunk by drilling and blasting with support provided by mesh and bolts. The lining will be installed using the Canadian shutter method that uses admixtures to self-level the concrete and ensure that there is no honeycombing. This method was chosen because it was deemed to be a safer approach and represents the latest trend in shaft sinking globally. It has already been used by Murray & Roberts Cementation for other recent shaft sinking projects and its sister company in Canada has been assisting local teams with the process of skills transfer to make this the company’s shaft sinking method of choice in the future.Mackay says a unique feature of this project is that the first Murray & Roberts Cementation e-learning computer training centre has been established outside South Africa. Mackay said “Our main training academy is at Bentley Park near Carletonville in South Africa and all our expatriate site personnel are trained there before being deployed to projects outside the country, however, we identified the need for a satellite training centre in Zambia to instruct our local personnel. We’ve installed a bank of 10 PCs complete with headsets and e-learning training comprises a full set of procedures for each job category — for example, the engineering sinking crew. Each person works through the relevant set of procedures and is required to complete a test at the end of the session. Those who don’t achieve a 100% pass rate on this test must start again from the beginning until they do.”“Safety procedures are an important component of this training and we’ve just rolled out the STOP.THINK.ACT.24/7 approach that emphasises the importance of taking action to correct unsafe conditions and behaviour while giving recognition to positive behaviour. ‘24/7’ highlights the need to be safety-aware at all times, both at work and after hours. All shifts begin with a safety talk and we encourage the local personnel to run these meetings according to a given agenda. Every person entering the site must also pass a breathalyser test.”Mackay says the core of senior Zambian supervisors in the sinking crew were flown to South Africa where they spent six weeks at Bentley Park going through the actual sinking procedures that will be applied at MCM on mock-up shafts. He believes this transfer of practical and theoretical knowledge will also prove beneficial for the Zambian mining community in the future.
SIPTU HAVE CALLED on management at German firm Liebherr Container Cranes to “respect the industrial relations process” after the company questioned its future in Killarney following a Labour Court ruling.The Labour Court last week awarded a 2.5 per cent pay increase to the workers backdated to 2009.The company say that they are “disappointed” with the decision of the Labour Court but will make the payments provided that agreement is reached with the union on changes to work practices.They say that these changes “have been discussed for an extended period”.Workers at the plant had suspended planned industrial action ahead of the Labour Court hearing but the company today said that, “the most recent industrial action and the increased operating costs means that the company has to reconsider the components which will be manufactured in Killarney”.Liebherr say that they “operate in a very aggressive market where all other competitors operate from China with wage levels at a fraction of that of Ireland” and that the Labour Court decision will affect the company’s competitiveness.The company claim that work has already been sent to their plant in Germany and this will continue next year.“The uncertain future in respect of such recently encountered industrial action means that Liebherr has now to re-evaluate its dependency on their Killarney plant, ” the statement adds.SIPTU organiser, Marie Kearney has this afternoon taken issue with the company’s statement, calling it “unhelpful” and describing it as a “threat” that is against best practice:It (the statement) also contravenes OECD guidelines that state that in ‘the context of bona fide negotiations with workers’ representatives on conditions of employment’, a company should ‘not threaten to transfer the whole or part of an operating unit from the country concerned.SIPTU also reject the claim that work has already been moved abroad, describing it as “misleading” because positions are regularly moved between Killarney and plants elsewhere in Europe.The union say that Liebherr are not respecting the recommendation of the Labour Court and that the workers “look forward to management respecting their right to be paid the wages outstanding to them.”Read: Fears for 670 jobs at Liebherr’s Kerry plant following strike action >Read: Staff at DAA, Shannon Airport and Aer Lingus to hold ballot on industrial action >