Displaying items by tag: Protest
Indonesia: Farmers have blocked access to Semen Indonesia’s Rembang cement plant as part of on-going protests against the construction of the unit. Around 250 farmers protested at the site in support of a Supreme Court ruling in October 2016 and a local government order in favour of shutting down the plant, according to the Jakarta Post newspaper. The activists claim that activity has continued at the site.
However, Semen Indonesia denies that is has started operation at the plant saying that its workers are merely ‘taking care of its assets.’ The cement producer says it stopped construction soon after it received the governor's decision to revoke its permit. It added that it had spent US$337m on the plant and that it was 99% complete when the governor issues his decree. 3000 workers were also laid off at the same time.
Nepal: Residents of Jyamire are seeking ’fair’ compensation from a quarry that Hongshi-Shivam Cement is building. Villagers have prevented Chinese technicians from the Nepal-China joint venture from working near the village, claiming that the company has ignored their complaints, according to the Kathmandu Post. Around 32 households in the region will be displaced by the mining project. The villagers are seeking compensation in excess of the rate set by the government, which they say the cement company offered them initially.
Hongshi-Shivam Cement is building a cement factory at Sardi in Nawalparasi district. It has acquired a permit from the Department of Mines and Geology to extract limestone at Jyamire in Palpa. China's Hongshi Holding Group has invested US$330m and its local partner has contributed around US$140m towards the project. The plant will have a production capacity of 6000t/day when operational and it is expected to be opened in 2017.
Ireland: Irish Cement’s plans to use used tyres as an alternative fuel at its plant in Limerick, Munster, have been delayed, after more than 1000 local residents signed a petition to present to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Local Labour councillor Joe Leddin said the sheer number of submissions is, ‘testament to the huge anxiety and worry of residents.’ An EPA spokesman confirmed it is one of the highest responses it had ever received for any application. The petition now means that no decision is likely to be made on the plans until the start of 2017.
Irish Cement has previously stated that the public’s concerns are disproportionate. The tyres will be burnt at such high temperatures, that the tyres will be completely consumed and pollution will be minimal.
France: Protest group SumOfUs has demanded that the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo drop LafargeHolcim as a corporate sponsor due to alleged links of deals with armed groups in Syria reported in the French media. SumOfUs say that over 37,500 people have signed an online petition calling for LafargeHolcim’s involvement with the Paris-Plages urban beach summer event to be terminated. The event, run by the office of the Mayor of Paris, creates temporary artificial beaches along the river Seine in the centre of Paris and the Bassin de la Villette in the northeast of Paris.
“This is a scandalous partnership with the City of Paris that should have never happened. By partnering with Lafarge for this summer’s Paris-Plages event, the City of Paris is whitewashing the company’s obscene show of corporate greed that profits off the war and violence created by terrorists. It is high time to make Lafarge accountable for its support of terror,” said Eoin Dubsky, Campaign manager at SumOfUs.
Myanmar: Hundreds of protestors have gathered in Hpa-an to object against a revived proposal to build a 5000t/day cement plant in Mi Karen and to develop a nearby limestone quarry. The project was originally put on hold in 2014 pending a public consultation, according to the Irrawaddy newspaper.
Protestors held a 'no cement' prayer vigil demanding that the project be scrapped. Local residents fear that the proposed cement plant will require land to be confiscated to build it as well as citing environmental and public health concerns.
Hpa-an has two existing cement plants in Myaingkalay with a combined cement production capacity of 4900t/day. These are run by the government and the military’s Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (UMEHL) respectively.
China: Eleven people have been detained in Yangchun, south China's Guangdong Province, after demonstrations against a project to build a waste incinerator adjacent to a cement plant turned violent.
Protesters said the demonstrations drew hundreds of people agitated over the risk of pollution from the project."How will we survive breathing in noxious smoke?" said one of the protestors.
Tension persisted for two days, with protesters saying that hundreds of people had been gathering near the gates of the cement plant.
Indonesia: Former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) commissioner Bambang Widjojanto joined a protest on 16 April 2015 against the construction of Semen Indonesia's new cement plant in Rembang, Central Java. However, the Semarang State Administrative Court (PTUN) ruled on the same day that PT Semen Indonesia could operate in the area.
Bambang said that the construction and operation of the cement plant could pose a threat to the ecosystem in the region. The former KPK commissioner joined the rally in front of the PTUN, which is currently holding a trial on the legality of the local government's decision to allow PT Semen Indonesia to start mining activities in the area. "We hope that the judges listen to their consciences and side with the people," said Bambang.
Residents of Rembang, Central Java, have staged a series of rallies since 2014, protesting the plan to build a cement plant in Watu Putih. They claim that a plant would impact nearby water resources and directly degrade their livelihoods. The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), an environmental non-government organisation (NGO) that has assisted the locals, has estimated that the potential loss of water could reach 51ML.
Colombia: Demonstrations have been held in Boyaca, Colombia by residents from Firavitoba and Tibasosa in order to protest against the operations of cement manufacturers Cementos del Oriente, Cementos Tequendama, Holcim and Cementos Argos. The communities claim that the cement operations are having a harmful effect on their health and are affecting the state of the local roads. Local authorities have agreed to meet with representatives from the communities on 19 January 2015 to discuss the matter.
Guatemala: Eight local inhabitants have died after a clash that saw residents turn guns on their neighbours over plans to build a road and a cement plant. Interior minister Mauricio Lopez said that the authorities were working to determine what actions would be taken after the clashes that began on 20 September 2014 and continued into 21 September 2014 in San Juan, Suchitepéquez Department. Several homes and five vehicles were burned.
"We need a greater security presence in the area to regain control," said Lopez, noting that about 600 policemen were deployed in the area where the incident took place. The conflict escalated because some of the local community are being forced to leave their homes due to the construction, while others have been in favour of the cement plant and sold land for the road. According to farming community leader Daniel Pascual, gunmen had fired on villagers opposed to the project. He stated that some of the attackers were employees of the cement company.
In July 2013 Cementos Progreso began to construct a cement plant in San Gabriel, Suchitepéquez for US$720m. It is expected to begin operations in 2017. However, the project has divided the local population between those who support the company and those who oppose the construction due to fears it will damage groundwater sources and cause other environmental damage.
Sri Lanka: Nearly 500 contract workers at two Holcim Lanka cement plants in the towns of Puttalam and Galle in Sri Lanka have been on strike since 19 May 2014 demanding job permanency, better wages and improved working conditions. The striking workers and their families are occupying the cement plant premises. The Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) called the strike.
The protesters at the Puttalam plant have blocked the main gate, halting the transport of cement. The company and contractors are trying to break the picket with the help of Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa. The government is determined to end the strike and has deployed police and the riot squad. The police are threatening to arrest union leaders and activists.
On 1 June 2014 the striking contract workers and their families at the Puttalam and Galle plants were attacked by hired thugs with swords and clubs, allegedly organised by the local ruling party politicians. At the Puttalam plant nine people, including an eight year old girl, were injured and sent to hospital. Four are still hospitalised. Protestors asked for police protection, who were present during the attack, but their appeals were allegedly refused. At the Galle plant one protester was injured.
The mother of the eight year old girl who was injured said that her daughter had been thrown to the ground by the thugs. "I'm afraid for my husband, who has been working for eight years as a contract worker. That's why we joined the protest."
Holcim established its Sri Lankan operations after the privatisation of the state-owned Puttalam Cement Corporation in 1996 under former president Chandrika Kumaratunga. After Holcim took over, the workforce was cut from 1500 to less than 900, with only 370 permanent workers. Some of the contract workers have worked for the company for more than 20 years. Keeping workers on contract basis is a means employed to deny the rights they would have as permanent employees and to subject them to harsher working conditions.
Workers in the production and transport sections are employed on a 12 hour shift system. Their basic monthly wage is less than US$115. In the loading section, six workers have to load 4500 cement bags during a 12 hour shift with the assistance of a conveyor belt. The workers on 'general duties' work nine hour shifts and are on daily wages of US$16.02.
Holcim Lanka dominates has more than 40% of the local market. In the recent period, it has increased the price of a 50kg bag of cement several times and profits have soared, even after paying the government's increased taxes.