By Benny Geteng – EM TV, Port Moresby
Barrick Gold Corporation’s subsidiary, Barrick (Niugini) Limited is currently in the process of transitioning the cleaning and janitorial services contract for the Porgera mine-site and camps.
Effective 29 November this year, a registered non-profit organisation, the Porgera District Women’s Association (PDWA), with a current membership of more than 4,000 women, will be the new contractor for cleaning and janitorial services.
The company was responding to the recent protest of more than 3000 people from the Porgera valley, over the removal of a cleaning contract previously held by a landowner company – Total Cleaning & House Keeping Services Limited (TCHSL).
During the protest, directors, shareholders and stakeholders of Total Cleaning & House Keeping Services Limited (TCHSL) presented a petition to Barrick’s General Manager, Greg Walker.
The landowners claimed that the tender process was hijacked by Barrick and that TCHSL had not been allowed to go through the whole process resulting in another company being given the contract.
They said Barrick had insulted the landowners by not allowing them to participate in spin off business opportunities in the area.
These services were previously provided by the Total Cleaning and Household Services (TC&HS) Limited under a contract that expires on 28 November this year.
Following a review of its contractual needs, Barrick made the decision to award a new contract to the Ipili Wanda Investments (IWI), the commercial arm of PDWA, for the labour hire component of the cleaning and janitorial services contract.
Mine management noted that the reasons for this decision were fully explained to the management of TC& HS at a meeting held earlier this month.
Awarding of the labour hire component of the contract to IWI is a demonstration from Barrick that the company is committed to encouraging, empowering, developing and working with local organisations that have a wide stakeholder base and who share the benefits derived from these opportunities with local community groups.
“In particular, it is our hope that such organisations will be able to grow and develop, resulting in further opportunities for them and the community, both on and off the mine”.
Barrick understands that the current TC&HS employees have been offered the opportunity to continue their same roles under new arrangements established by the IWI from 29 November.
TC&HS employees seeking to continue their same roles are able to register their interest in employment with IWI, who have confirmed that working hours and wages for those TC&HS employees who choose to continue working in their roles under the new arrangements will be unchanged.