Miner al­lays con­tract fears

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

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