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Hunter Valley workers join Global Day of Action

Hunter Valley mine workers are joining forces with workers from around the world today as part of the Global Day of Action against Rio Tinto’s culture of insecure and precarious work.

The CFMEU released a statement today saying Rio Tinto is notorious for attacking permanent jobs, pay and entitlements of workers in Australia and around the world.

Northern Mining and NSW Energy District President Peter Jordan said the Global Day of Action will serve as a wake up call to Rio Tinto that workers and their families in the Hunter will not stand by and allow the company to get away with further casualisation of the workforce.

“Rio Tinto’s deliberate casualisation of the workforce is hurting workers and families in the Hunter, where 35 per cent of the workforce is now on casual contracts,” said Mr Jordan.

“Insecure work drives down wages and decreases productivity. It also adds to the level of stress in the lives of local workers and their families, who can’t have financial security without job security.

“Hunter mine workers on contracts are earning up to $40,000 less than direct permanent employees. This is money being directly pulled out of the budgets of local families and put into the pockets of shareholders.”

The union is calling on the company to be transparent about its use of precarious work and its intention to further casualise the local workforce.

“Among unions surveyed internationally, it is estimated that 70 per cent of Rio Tinto’s workforce globally are on casual contracts. The company has been increasing its strategy of casualisation in the last decade to replace its permanent workforce with casual, expendible workers,” said Mr Jordan.

“In Australia, Rio Tinto has been making permanent workers redundant or waiting for them to retire and gradually replacing these good, secure jobs with casual positions. Its a deliberate strategy being used to drive down costs.

“There is a clear link between secure work, job satisfaction and productivity. Rio Tinto’s strategy is not only hostile to workers, but also economically short-sighted.

“Today’s Global Day of Action gives the company the opportunity to come clean with its intentions and re-establish relationship with workers.”

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