TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Dec. 15, 2017) – Torex Gold Resources Inc. (the “Company” or “Torex”) (TSX:TXG) is encouraged to report that a majority of its employees have voted to return to work immediately. The Company organized an off-site vote yesterday for its 520 employees that are eligible to join a union. The purpose of the vote was to give union eligible employees an opportunity to speak for themselves in a safe and independent environment.
Since early November, the ELG Mine site employees and the Company have been the victims of an illegal blockade by Los Mineros, the raiding union that doesn’t legally represent workers and has co-opted their voices. Despite not being able to operate for the past six weeks, the Company has continued to pay the salaries of all the employees, with the exception of the small minority that have participated in the blockade.
During the vote, unionized employees were asked if they wanted the illegal blockade lifted immediately so they can return to work. In the end, the vote was overwhelmingly (99%) in favour of lifting the blockade immediately. 274 of the 520 voters were able to attend and vote. The Company could not send buses to the communities that are behind the blockades. The Company believes the numbers able to attend the vote, would have been much higher if it were not for Los Mineros intimidation of local employees. An example of such intimidation, was the stopping of a vehicle that was taking employees from behind the blockade to the vote. Employees on the vehicle were told to get out of the vehicle. They did, and walked home.
Again, the Company’s priority was to ensure employees could be heard in a safe environment, free from intimidation or threats. The vote was by a secret ballot that was supervised by Notary Publics, who also supervised the admission process. Only union eligible workers were allowed into the facility where the vote was held, they were vetted through formal identification and photographs. There was no management present beyond the admission process, nor were non-employee union representatives present. As each employee was cleared to enter the facility, they were given their ballot and were directed to the voting booths. After all employees had voted, they proceeded to an auditorium. The Notary Publics, then opened the ballot boxes in front of all employees and conducted the count, which showed 99% of the votes in favour of lifting the blockade immediately. The employees then repeated the voting process through a show of hands. The entire process was videotaped for purposes of validity and accuracy.
Staff employees, on their own initiative, also held a vote yesterday, on the same question. Initial reports of the result of their vote, is unanimous support in favour of lifting the blockade. These results will be confirmed later today, by the Notary Publics.
Fred Stanford, President and CEO of Torex stated: “Our thanks go out to the hundreds of individuals who have stepped up and publicly illustrated that the Company is making a meaningful contribution to society and that they are proud to be a part of that journey. With such an overwhelming show of support by our employees through this vote, we hope Los Mineros will remove its illegal blockade and let workers get back to work so that they can provide a good Christmas for their families. It is now clear that Los Mineros does not speak for our union eligible employees, who do not want their disruptive presence through the continuation of the blockade.” He added, “If Los Mineros, and their supporters, UNIFOR, and USW, are not legitimately speaking for our union eligible employees then presumably they are speaking for someone else. We assume they are speaking for themselves, and their political agendas in the Mexican federal presidential election and in the NAFTA negotiations. We would hope that these outside unions keep their political actions to the political arenas, and let the employees get on with their lives and go back to work. If Los Mineros, USW and Unifor truly care for these workers, then they will honour the workers’ vote and immediately lift the blockades, and limit political activity to political arenas.”
As the Company has said all along, it is committed to the legal process that allows eligible employees to select between competing unions through a secret ballot process. The first meeting in that process was on December 13th. The purpose of the meeting was to establish a date for the secret ballot, so that the union representation question could be resolved through a vote by union eligible employees. The Los Mineros union that started the illegal blockade, and submitted the paperwork to start the legal union selection process, now appears uncomfortable with the process. On December 13th, they asked for a delay until January 30th, 2017, of the decision to establish a vote date. Apparently, they are oblivious to the fact that this delay negatively affects thousands of workers and their families, unless the blockade is lifted immediately and the union selection vote proceeds as a separate process.
If the blockade continues in spite of the workers’ vote, the Company will not be able to continue to compensate employees in Mexico, beyond December 15th, 2017, with the exception of a small crew to provide security oversight and other essential duties. This unfortunate reality has been previously communicated to employees and the appropriate documentation has been filed with the Mexican Labour authorities. The fact is, that the well-being of thousands of people and their families, is dependent on the immediate removal of the blockade by either Los Mineros, or by the authorities.
Torex is an emerging intermediate gold producer based in Canada, engaged in the exploration, development and operation of its 100% owned Morelos Gold Property, an area of 29,000 hectares in the highly prospective Guerrero Gold Belt located 180 kilometers southwest of Mexico City. Within this property, Torex has the El Limón Guajes Mine, which announced commercial production in March of 2016, the Sub-Sill Project, currently under development, and the Media Luna Project, an early stage development project for which the Company issued a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) in 2015. The property remains 75% unexplored.
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” and “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Notwithstanding the Company’s efforts, there can be no guarantee that the Company will not face unforeseen delays or disruptions in re-starting operations. Forward-looking information also includes, but is not limited to, the availability of the government sanctioned process to resolve the labour dispute, including the vote to elect the union, the outcome of such process, the ability to end the blockade and re-start operations, the time period to re-start operations in the event the blockade ends, the prospect that operations may again be shut down and the circumstances of such shut down, the suspension of salaries. Generally, forward-looking information can be can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such “purpose”, “budgeted”, “scheduled”, “potentially”, “proposed”, “pending”, “contemplates”, “plans”, “expects”, “estimates”, “intends”, “anticipates”, “believes”, or “subsequent” or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might”, “will” or “will be taken”, “occur”, or “be achieved”. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the activities of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including, without limitation, those risk factors identified in the Company’s annual information form and management’s discussion and analysis. Forward-looking information is based on the reasonable assumptions, estimates, analysis and opinions of management made in light of its experience and its perception of trends, current conditions and expected developments, as well as other factors that management believes to be relevant and reasonable in the circumstances at the date that such statements are made, but which may prove to be incorrect. Although the Company believes that the assumptions and expectations reflected in such forward-looking information are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking information because the Company can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
President and CEO
Tel. (647) 260-1502
Email: [email protected]
Vice President Investor Relations
Tel. (647) 260-1503
Email: [email protected]