Miner allays contract fears
Rio Tinto has quashed concerns inland Pilbara towns could suffer a further population exodus because of its move to shift iron ore operation employment to contract work.
The mining giant announced late last month external hiring, with the exception of management, superintendent and supervisory roles, would be filled by contractors from service providers.
A Rio Tinto spokesman said the new process would have no impact on existing employees.
“We are implementing a new recruitment process that takes account of continuing market volatility,” he said.
“Our aim is to keep team members based locally in the Pilbara, whether they are direct employees or contractors.”
The spokesman said indigenous employment, trainees, graduates and apprentices would continue to be Rio Tinto jobs. Pilbara Regional Council chief executive Tony Friday said there was a growing disconnect between the resources industry and the Federal Government’s intentions for growing northern Australia.
“This isn’t the fault of industry, this is the fault of the Government for not legislating appropriately on employment processes,” he said.
“People will only bring families into a position of permanence.”
CFMEU WA secretary Gary Wood claimed the result would be employees being paid significantly lower than they should be without permanency.
“Obviously they are looking at
cost savings, but we certainly don’t support the casualisation of labour,” he said. “Labour hire companies are undercutting each other to get in there but at the end of the day they are undercutting workers’ conditions.”
Mr Wood raised further concerns this decision would be detrimental to workplace safety.
Shire of Ashburton president Kerry White said history proved Rio Tinto was keen to support the townships.