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On 7 October Rio Tinto workers everywhere are demanding decent work

7 October, 2015Marking World Day for Decent Work, 7 October, employees of the mining and metals giant Rio Tinto are taking concerted action to call on their employer to Stop Precarious Work.

Trade unions affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union at Rio Tinto worksites in 14 countries are taking part. The unions make up a trade union network that is campaigning to change the company.

The joint demands to Rio Tinto on 7 October are:

  • Stop replacing permanent workers with precarious workers
  • Provide safe jobs with good wages and benefits
  • Force suppliers and subcontractors to respect workers’ rights, including health and safety rights
  • Respect the right of workers and unions to meaningful participation in health and safety matters

Each union in the Rio Tinto network is taking different types of action to mark the day, from leafleting worksites to mass meetings. Unions from all 14 countries also jointly sent a letter to Rio Tinto stating their demands.

Workers at Rio Tinto are not safe at work. In 2015 the deadly trend has continued with worker fatalities in Canada, Chile, Guinea, Indonesia, Madagascar and South Africa.

Another dangerous trend at Rio Tinto is the increasing amount of outsourced or contract workers to replace full-time permanent staff. The strategy means putting workers’ safety at risk while weakening workers’ rights, social protections and responsibility of the employer.

World Day for Decent Work will be marked by union campaign actions across industries and regions in a strong protest against precarious work.

IndustriALL recently surveyed Rio Tinto workers on the effects of precarious work and the results were damning. The results of the survey indicate up to 70 per cent of workforces being precarious, and show a growing trend. At the large Grasberg mine operations in Indonesia the prevalence of precarious work has doubled over the last five to ten years.

Permanent workers are made redundant and replaced with workers on temporary contracts. In Rio Tinto’s operations in Namibia it is those same sacked workers who are brought back on temporary deals.

“You can imagine how such a change in contract weakens the employee. He or she suddenly faces the prospect of their contract not being renewed as punishment for raising their voice to protest their treatment at work. Rio Tinto again and again shows its ugly side when it could easily act differently and become a standard bearer for the entire industry,” said Kemal Özkan, Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union.

See the Rio Tinto, Stop Precarious Work day of action leaflet here.

Download the report Rio Tinto: The way it really works here.