|Issue No 62||14 July 2000|
Global Rio Tinto Campaign Bites
Mining giant Rio Tinto is feeling the heat of a global trade union campaign and has signaled it wants to make peace with its Australian workforce by offering them collective agreements.
Rio Tinto management, who have led the push to place workers on individual contracts, made the concession came on the eve of an international week of union action in countries ranging from the USA to South Africa, Chile and Brazil.
The company has faced serious industrial disputes across all of its Australian coal mines since it sought to cease bargaining with unions and push workers onto individual contracts a process begun in 1993.
The tentative agreement that would cover the company's Mt Thorley workers came after the Rio Tinto made a comprehensive offer of settlement last Friday night. The miners union, the CFMEU, and workers are now considering the companies' offer.
CFMEU National Secretary John Maitland has welcomed the tentative agreement: "We hope that this is the first step of a new approach by the company following the commitment by the Executive Chairman in May that they would seek peace with trade unions."
"The shareholder campaign that was mounted in the USA, UK and Australia, which achieved big investor support, has clearly provided a further incentive to the company to settle."
But Maitland has also sounded a warning to management. "If the Mt Thorley proposal is used by Rio Tinto as simply a public relations exercise to deflect the international campaign against it then further progress will be slow.
"The company has a long way to go to regain the confidence of its workers and their communities. "
Interview: Fair Trader
AMWU boss Doug Cameron is gearing for a showdown with the ALP over their free trade agenda. But what's he really on about?
Politics: Free Trader
Trade Minister Peter Cook states his case for coninuting trade liberalisation and why the 'fair trade' agenda is against the interests of Australian workers.
History: Organising - Fifties Style
What do the new wave of organisers do? Pretty much the same hard slog that Audrey Petrie did in the 1950s around Sydney for the Hotel, Club and Restaurant Union (HCRU).
Unions: The Whistleblower
A lone Chinese seafarer is fighting to stop a Panamanian flagged vessel from dumping toxic waste into Australian waters
International: Jakarta Breakthrough
Indonesian workers have just won a new historic bill of rights which gaurantees them legal protections when they form unions.
Solidarity: Rio Versus the Rest of the World
Union members around the world have taken part in a week of international action against the mining giant Rio Tinto. Andrew Casey looks at all the hot spots.
Satire: Amnesty Branch Targets Lazy Letter Writer
Police are investigating claims that the Glebe branch of Amnesty International has captured and tortured a member whose tardiness in letter writing had become renowned.
Review: Little by Little
Clinton Walker's groundbreaking book, CD and video charts the careers of indigenous artists like the legendary Jimmy Little.
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