I Go To Rio…

Posted: November 17, 2011 in Politics

Last week, a friend of mine, and the Labor candidate for the Federal seat of Mitchell for the last 2 Federal Elections, Nigel Gould, sent a letter to the Financial Review.

The letter he sent was published, raised many an eyebrow, and was forwarded around in quite high circles.

The letter is in regards to Industrial Relations, and in particular the relationship between Unions, workers, and major corporations.

With all of the fuss recently around Industrial Relations and Unions due to debates regarding Rio Tinto and Qantas, I thought I would share Nigel’s letter with you, as Nigel is an expert on this matter, and not just from what he has read in a paper, his expertise come from experience.

I apologise I don’t have a link to the article it refers to.

Here is Nigels letter:

Chanticleer’s November 5-6 column on Rio Tinto carries the headline “For Rio, IR is a matter of trust” with chairman Jan du Plessis  saying “Rio had always taken the view that trust between people was the key to good industrial relations”.

In 1995 as an employee of Con Zinc Rio Tinto (CRA) I got served notice by the local police at Weipa [on the Gulf of Carpentaria coast ] that I could lose my house and assets. I wanted to be on a collective agreement with my union, and not sign an individual contract. That view on trust was not always taken.

I do not forget the what the Financial Review reporter who was in a group on a CRA junket staying at the Albatross Hotel at Weipa at the time (‘You guys do not have a chance in hell ) just before we went on strike.

It looks like things don’t change with your story. Yes, you told the truth about Rio having the smallest number of unionised workers among all the major mining companies.

Chanticleer talks to the chairman and chief executive, but what about the workers on the frontline who have been the heart and soul of Rio.

I have been a former union secretary for the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union at Weipa and have seen the good and bad of Rio Tinto.
And as a Labor candidate for federal seat of Mitchell in the last two federal elections I have seen the story of IR being rewritten.

Please do not tell me that “Rio had always taken the view of trust between people was the key to good IR”. As workers at Weipa were offered individual contracts it was one word: the” money” that got them to change.

Nigel Gould

Thanks Nigel for noticing the distortion of facts from the media, and also thanks for pointing it out to those of us who may have missed it.

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