Rio Tinto to face worldwide protests today over safety concerns

Rio Tinto protestsRio Tinto will reportedly face worldwide employee-led protests today over a spate of fatalities at an Indonesian worksite where the company has a major investment.  

According to IndustriALL Global Union, workers from Rio Tinto sites in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America will today be conducting rallies, stop work meetings and other worksite actions to demand that Rio provide safer workplaces, job security and respect for workers’ rights.

As part of the action, Australia’s CFMEU will reportedly launch a report into certain Rio Tinto work practices – which the union claims, “exposes the company’s strategy to lock out unions.”

In a statement, Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL, Kemal Özkan, said, “For far too long, Rio Tinto has systematically put profits before people, sometimes with fatal consequences. Workers are saying enough is enough. The protests on 7 October are part of IndustriALL’s on-going campaign to demand a new era at Rio Tinto.”

The statement went on to say, “Rio Tinto, which has a market value of US$ 100 billion, is increasingly turning to contract and subcontracted workers to cut costs. At its Madagascar Minerals operation, there are double the numbers of contract workers as permanent staff. In Australia, Rio Tinto has been attacked for sacking fulltime workers on mass but keeping on casual or contract workers at the Hail Creek mine in Queensland.”

“Last month, five miners were killed in two separate fatal incidents at the Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia where Rio Tinto has the rights to 40% of production above a certain level.  Three out of the four miners who died in the second incident were subcontracted workers. The deaths follow the loss of 35 lives at the mine last year alone.”

IndustriALL claims to represents 50 million workers in 140 countries throughout the world.

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