May 13, 2013
Rio Tinto appeal disappointing
The EPMU is disappointed at Rio Tinto’s decision to appeal an Employment Relations Authority ruling requiring the company to pay workers back for leave it owes them but has never paid.
The case centred around Rio Tinto subsidiary New Zealand Aluminium Smelters’ decision to pay workers eight hours’ leave in lieu of a public holiday, despite the fact employees worked standard twelve hour shifts.
EPMU general counsel Greg Lloyd says the appeal is disappointing.
“The Authority was very clear that Rio Tinto has failed to pay its employees their full legal entitlements over a number of years. We believe the time has come for the company to simply pay its workers what they are owed.
“New Zealanders understand that when you rack up a bill you have to pay it back. It should be no different for Rio Tinto or any other company.”
Mr Lloyd says the union rejects claims the company cannot afford to pay what it owes.
“Rio Tinto is a large company facing many challenges, but it is nonsense to claim the calculation of lieu days will have any material impact on the future of the Tiwai Point smelter.”
A copy of the Authority’s decision can be found at: http://www.epmu.org.nz/assets/Legal/lieu-day-decision.pdf