Members of the Maritime Union of Australia have protested in front of the headquarters of mining giant Rio Tinto over the company’s alleged “refusal to employ Australian seafarers for the vast majority of its interstate and intra-state shipping needs.”
The MUA claims that Rio Tinto is employing foreign seafarers paid AUD 4 an hour to transport bauxite from Weipa to Gladstone and alumina to Newcastle from Gladstone.
The union believes that Australian seafarers should be employed in these jobs.
MUA Queensland Branch Secretary Bob Carnegie read out a letter to Rio Tinto chief executive Peter Manion outlining the ways in which Rio Tinto is derelict in its duties: “This demonstration held today (March 15) by Maritime Union of Australia Queensland Branch members and their supporters, call upon Rio Tinto to engage immediately with the Maritime Union of Australia Queensland branch and the Maritime Union of Australia National office to implement the standard of the 2010 MOU between Rio Tinto and our union.”
“Australian merchant seafarers demand and expect to have the right to work in their own country, respected and acknowledged by employment on the vessels Rio Tinto owns and operates on the Australian coast,” he continued.
Carnegie reportedly emphasized to the crowd that the MUA protest is not in any way against “people from other nations.”
World Maritime News contacted Rio Tinto for a comment on the matter, however, the company is yet to reply.