At the end of June thirty mining union delegates from across the world at Rio Tinto operations met in Johannesburg to map out a global campaign strategy, marking a significant milestone in the process towards the launch of a campaign against the corporation.
At its inaugural merger conference in 2012, IndustriALL resolved to launch a multi-coordinated, multi-union global corporate campaign against Rio Tinto for its legendary anti-union and unsustainable labour and community relations practice, including environmental practices and conduct across the globe. With the launch of a Rio Tinto Global Network responsible for driving the global campaign, the June meeting in Johannesburg marks a significant step forward.
The purpose of the global campaign is to force a seismic shift in the way that Rio Tinto relates to workers and trade unions across all of their operations. The specific objectives are to increase trade union density in its operations globally and a recognition by Rio Tinto of trade unions and of IndustriALL Global Union as a formal interlocutor or counterpart.
Part of the strategic outcome of the meeting was the launch of a strategic alliance against Rio Tinto (START), envisaged as an alliance of progressive social, community, environmental, faith-based and economic justice network. To this end, an environmental activist persecuted for exposing mining environmental abuses in his country addressed the meeting. A Researcher at one of the leading universities in South Africa also addressed the meeting on the community abuses and social dislocation associated with mining in his home country.