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Rio Tinto workers protest in 13 countries

16.10.2014

In a coordinated day of defiance on 7 October workers organized protests at Rio Tinto operations in over a dozen countries.

The global call for action was made by the Rio Tinto Global Union Network as part of an ongoing campaign coordinated by IndustriALL Global Union.

Our message to Rio Tinto is that the trade union movement globally is here to stay and we will fight and campaign against Rio Tinto until the company shows respect and gives dignity to its workers, to the environment in which it operates and to the communities in which it operates

says Andrew Vickers, IndustriALL mining section chairman and CFMEU General Secretary.

Rio Tinto workers around the world made their voices heard in a resounding demand for safer workplaces, secure jobs and respect for workers’ rights.

From rallies in Canada and the USA to worksite actions in South Africa, Australia and France, the spotlight was put on Rio Tinto’s habit of putting profits before people.

Following recent fatalities at the Grasberg mine in Indonesia that is partially owned by Rio Tinto, IndustriALL affiliate the Chemical, Energy and Mines Workers Union (CEMWU) distributed flyers on the global day to members at the mine. Leadership of the union at the mine also wore campaign t-shirts with the IndustriALL logo and slogan "Rio Tinto, the Ugly Truth".

In South Africa, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) acting President Piet Matosa met with members at the Rio Tinto Richards Bay operation to explain why unions around the world were targeting the company.

A number of actions took place in Australia, and the day of action managed to get a great deal of media coverage. The Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union (CFMEU) launched a report into Rio Tinto's anti-union practices and National Vice President Andrew Vickers was interviewed on ABC Australia.

More actions took place in the following countries:

AUSTRALIA

CAMEROON

CANADA

FRANCE

INDONESIA

MADAGASCAR

MONGOLIA

NAMIBIA

NETHERLANDS

NEW ZEALAND

SOUTH AFRICA

SWITZERLAND

USA

Workers and union officials from IndustriALL affiliate the Union Syndicale des Travailleurs de Guinée (USTG) had planned a series of protest actions to mark the global day, however as a result of the Ebola crisis they were sent home and no action could be organized.

The actions were held on 7 October to coincide with the World Day for Decent Work, when unions around the globe mobilize against precarious work. Unions at Rio Tinto have identified the increasing use of temporary, casual and contracted-out work by Rio Tinto as one of their key concerns.

Take a look at IndustriALL’s Rio Tinto page to see who took action and keep updated on the latest news on the Rio Tinto Campaign.