Mining unions announce global campaign against Rio Tinto

Unions representing members at Rio Tinto operations globally pledged to fight the company’s anti-worker, anti-community practices in Alma, Canada and around the world. The first step, stop Rio Tinto from supplying the gold, silver and bronze for medals at the London Olympics in June.

AUSTRALIA: International mining unions declared Rio Tinto their number one target for global campaigning, due to the company’s legendary anti-union, anti-worker, unsustainable labour, community and environmental practices worldwide.

The unions were gathered at the ICEM World Mining Conference, held in Sydney, Australia on April 17 to 19, 2012 with unions representing mine workers from every continent and with a combined membership of over 50 million.

A resolution unanimously passed at the conference noted that Rio Tinto, like many transnational miners, was recording strong profit growth while engaging in brutal and unethical practices. The global union body resolved to commit resources to drive a global campaign against Rio Tinto leading up to the London Olympics and beyond.

The resolution called for a number of actions, including:

The re-launch of an Xstrata and BHP-Billiton Global Network To support affiliates in resource rich countries in the negotiation and implementation of a mineral resource tax To support affiliates in their demands to have the ILO Convention 176 ratified in their countries To initiate a white ribbon trust to be managed by the NUM in recognition of gender violence and the memory of Pinky Mosiane, a woman miner who was brutally murdered in one of the mines in South Africa.

“Mineworkers continue to die in the killing fields of the mining industry as health and safety continue to be sacrificed at the altar of profit and Mining Companies undermine efforts to ratify ILO Convention 176,” stated the resolution, adding, “the Mining sector continues to be a site of struggle for gender oppression and liberation, the continued discrimination, sexual harassment and violence against women, and a glaring violation of decent work and a severe signal of gender inequality.”

Conference participants pledged their full support for the many struggles going on in the industry and vowed to make sure issues raised in the meeting would remain front and center on the agenda of the new global union, IndustriALL. Apr 19, 2012 – Kristyne Peter

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