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A Rio Tinto Classic: Trade Union Rights violation and Dismissal of thousands in Mongolia

20 August, 2013Mass dismissals have taken place at Rio Tinto operations in Mongolia at OT LLC and in Madagascar at QMM. IndustriALL strongly condemns the company’s behaviour and total lack of respect for workers’ rights.

Since the Investment Agreement with the Government of Mongolia was signed in 2009, IndustriALL Global Union and its affiliates have been closely following Rio Tinto’s $ 6.6 billion Oyu Tolgoi mine investment.

According information received, Rio Tinto is reported to be violating human and trade union rights and damaging the environment in Mongolia. Inspection reports produced by the Ministry of Labour confirm that Rio Tinto is in breach of national and international laws related to the fundamental rights of its employees. Different verdicts issued by district and city level courts confirm that Rio Tinto is violating workers’ rights contrary to the provisions of the national Labour Law.

Recent information regarding Redpath Mongolia confirms the general picture that the company building the underground portion of the mine handed notices of termination to workers in execution of a decision by the Oyu Tolgoi LLC’s board of directors. The decision to dismiss 1700 workers is apparently over a disagreement about revenue sharing of the mine with the government of Mongolia. 

Turquoise Hill Resources, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, announced on August 12, that until “matters can be resolved with the Mongolian government and a new timetable has been agreed”, the funding and development of the mine’s underground expansion would be delayed.

When it comes to both Mongolia and Madagascar, IndustriALL Global Union finds Rio Tinto being very much in contravention of international conventions, guidelines and declarations on human rights which the company claims to  subscribe to,

says IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina. 

IndustriALL Global Union and its affiliates with a presence at Rio Tinto operations worldwide have created a Global Network with the main objective to highlight and combat these violations.

IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina concludes:

We urge Rio Tinto to enter into meaningful dialogue with the relevant stakeholders, trade unions, civil society organisations and government authorities to address these dreadful situations.