Rio Tinto unionists paid lower redundancies, claims CFMEU

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Rio Tinto unionists paid lower redundancies, claims CFMEU

The CFMEU is accusing Rio Tinto of discriminating against its members when paying redundancies due to the closure of the Blair Athol mine in Queensland, and is planning to strike over the issue.

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The CFMEU is accusing Rio Tinto of discriminating against its members when paying redundancies due to the closure of the Blair Athol mine in Queensland, and is planning to strike over the issue.

The union’s district vice president Glenn Power said the company’s decision to pay lesser redundancies to union members than those on individual arrangements was a clear-cut case of discrimination.

Industrial action
 
Yesterday, members voted overwhelmingly to approve protected industrial action to protest Rio’s plans ahead of the mine’s scheduled closure on 23 November.

The union and company were in the midst of enterprise agreement negotiations, which started in July, at the time of Rio’s closure announcement. The CFMEU is currently assessing all the options for affected workers.

‘All our members are looking for is equality,’ Power said.

Discrimination
 
‘When a worker receives a much lower redundancy package than someone they’ve worked alongside for years, with the only difference between the two being the one who’s disadvantaged is a union member, that’s discrimination.’

‘We understand that the coal market has changed and that Rio has embarked on a range of cuts to its cost, but it is plain wrong to shortchange a section of your workforce on the basis of union representation.’

The CFMEU said that in August this year Rio Tinto was found guilty of victimising a Pilbara worker for raising complaints about safety and employment conditions in what a Federal Court described as a ‘grave breach’ of workplace rights.
 
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