Workers to fund TV ads on Rio pay

The Age

Friday March 25, 2011

BEN SCHNEIDERS

IN AN unusual advertising blitz aluminium workers are set to fund much of a three-month TV campaign against Rio Tinto to highlight claims that non-union Tasmanian workers at the company are underpaid.Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes launched the advertisements in Tasmania yesterday. They claim Rio's aluminium workers at Bell Bay are paid on average $20,000 a year less than aluminium workers on the mainland.Mr Howes, who last month declared "war" on Rio Tinto, said the company had de-unionised its Tasmanian workforce in 1994 and was still pressuring workers not to join the union. He would not say how much the ad campaign would cost beyond saying "substantial". Most of it would be funded from voluntary contributions by aluminium workers at mainland unionised sites.Rio Tinto spokesman Bruce Tobin rejected the claim on pay and said employees at the Tasmanian smelter received pay in the top 25 per cent of the local market.

© 2011 The Age

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