Mining and Maritime Unions Declare Global Battle Against Rio And Grupo Mexico

Mining and maritime unions from around the world pledge to support 1800 miners and escalate the dispute with Rio Tinto and Groupo Mexico "dramatically and strategically to make them global battles".



We, leaders of mining and maritime unions representing workers from Canada, the United States, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand meeting in Palmdale, California on 16 – 17 February, express our serious concern with the violation of workers’ rights in Boron, California by Rio Tinto and in Mexico by Grupo Mexico backed by the Government of Mexico. 

On 11 February 2010 a Mexican court, without a full examination of evidence, ruled the termination of the collective bargaining agreement between Grupo Mexico and Section 65 of the National Union of Mine, Metallurgical, Steel and Allied Workers of Mexico (Los Mineros).

The court has ruled that 1,200 workers, members of Los Mineros Section 65, are to be dismissed, a strike they initiated in July 2007 is terminated and that the union’s collective bargaining agreement with Grupo Mexico is extinguished.

The dispute between Grupo Mexico and Los Mineros is a long-standing one. The Mexican government has allied itself with Grupo Mexico in a more than four-year campaign of repression and abuses of power to eliminate the Los Mineros union, which is that country’s strongest independent union led by Napoleon Gomez Urrutia.

Rio Tinto, a multinational mining giant that many of us have done battle with in the past, locked out nearly 600 members of the ILWU Local 30 at its borax mine and plant in Boron, California. This mega mining conglomerate is trying to force an extremely concessionary contract ultimatum down the throats of Local 30 members and their families.

Rio Tinto has a long and disgusting history with respect to their mistreatment of workers, communities and the environment around the world. The company is currently being sued in U.S. Federal Court because of its treatment of the community and environment in Papua, New Guinea.

We intend to escalate the campaigns in defence of workers at Rio Tinto and Grupo Mexico immediately, dramatically and strategically to make them global battles. We will not cease until these workers receive fair treatment.

Statement issued on behalf of the mining and maritime unions coordinating committee by Maritime Union of Australia, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (Australia), SATAWU (South Africa), National Union of Mineworkers (South Africa), CEPPWAWU (South Africa), International Longshore Workers Association (Locals 1422 and 1526), , International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Maritime Union of New Zealand, International Metalworkers Federation, International Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers Union.

Mick Doleman, MUA

Dean Summers, MUA/ITF

Jo White, MUA

Andy Triplett, USW

Scott Mullins, USW

Ken Neumann, USW

Stephen Hunt, USW

Adam Lee, USW

Manny Armenta, USW

Ray Familathe, ILWU

Willie Adams, ILWU

Kenny Riley. ILA

Mike D. Payne, ILA

Andrew Vickers, CFMEU

Garry Parsloe, MUNZ

Joe Fleetwood, MUNZ

Bob Ashton, ILWU-Canada

Sikhumbuzo Phakathi, CEPPWAWU

Joe Drexler, ICEM

Ismail Asland, Mineworkers Union of Turkey

Kenan Dikbiyik, Mineworkers Union of Turkey

Oupa Komane, NUM

Robert Mashego, SATAWU

Kristyne Peter, IMF

Eleanor Morton, ILWU

Lewis Wright, ILWU

Russ Bargmann, ILWU

Rob Remar, ILWU

Wes Furtado, ILWU

Alberto Bonilla, ILWU Local 13

Gary Harvey, ILWU Local 20

Rudy Domane, ILWU Local 20


Mick Doleman

Deputy National Secretary

Maritime Union of Australia


Mining and Maritime International Coordinating Committee

Tel:     +61 2 9267 9134