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Crt Backs Tanzanian Miners In Case Against Barrick - Official

by Nicholas BariyoDow Jones
July 7th, 2009

The Tanzanian labor court has forwarded a wrongful dismissal claim from about 700 ex-miners of Tanzania Bulyanhulu Gold Mine to the labor commissioner, a union official told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.

Steven Chagu said the workers are seeking compensation from Barrick Gold Tanzania Ltd. owners of the mine over wrongful dismissal following a strike in 2007.

Chagu, who was among the dismissed workers, said the labor commissioner will determine how much the company will pay to the former miners.

Barrick Tanzania Ltd. is a unit of Canada-based Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX), the world's leading gold producer.

"We shall be having a meeting with the labor commissioner on July 30 where we expect a final ruling," Chagu said by telephone from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania's commercial capital, adding that workers are seeking up to $5 million from the company.

Workers at Bulyanhulu went on strike in July 2007 following a breakdown of pay talks. The mine suspended output for several weeks before firing all the 1,300 striking workers, accusing them of illegally walking out.

The dismissed workers failed in a petition to the labor division of the Tanzanian court before taking the case to the court of appeal, which overturned the lower court's decision in March allowing the former miners to seek compensation over their dismissal.

Teweli Teweli, a spokesman for Barrick Tanzania Ltd., said most of the dismissed workers were later rehired.

Activists and politicians have accused Barrick Tanzania Ltd. of having poor labor policies, a charge denied by the company, Tanzania's leading gold producer.

-By Nicholas Bariyo, contributing to Dow Jones Newswires; +256 75 262 4615;


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