File spoon-archives/marxism-news.archive/marxism-news_1998/marxism-news.9802, message 18

Date:          Wed, 11 Feb 1998 09:57:58 GMT-1000
Subject: M-NEWS: (Fwd) Union Assault on Rio Tinto - The Aust 11/2/98

n`The Australian Newspaper - 11 Feb 98
 Hawke heads union assault on Rio Tinto

 AN international union group with former prime minister Bob
 Hawke at its vanguard has given transnational miner Rio
 Tinto a month's notice of plans to unleash a "secret
 weapon" against the company's labour policies.

 Trade unionists from 14 countries announced their intention
 to co-ordinate an international assault on Rio Tinto, the
 world's biggest miner, after a three-day meeting in
 Johannesburg to challenge the company's labour practices.

 The unions alleged Rio Tinto was attempting to stamp out
 organised labour and was abusing the environment and human
 rights. At the launch of the campaign, the International
 Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers
 Unions (ICEM) said: "In exactly one month's time, a
 significant event will take place internationally. It will
 kick off the formal part of our campaign (against Rio

 Speaking after the meeting, Mr Hawke said he was "concerned
 about the rights of workers to organise, to maximise their
 power against a very powerful employer".

 He criticised Rio Tinto for being "monumentally
 hypocritical" by implementing the two-party work
 relationship. He said Rio Tinto's underlying goal was the
 elimination of the trade union movement.

 The chief executive of Rio Tinto Energy, Leigh Clifford,
 dismissed Mr Hawke's criticism, saying the company's aim
 was better performance, not de-unionising the workplace.

 "The issue is about work practice and productivity," he
 told ABC Radio yesterday.



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