CFMEU Confront Rio Tinto’s Failure to Provide Quality Food for Workers

The CFMEU have been sent countless images over the past few months showcasing food of poor quality provided on Rio Tinto mine sites. The union has confronted both Rio Tinto and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who provide service to the mining company.

A letter sent by the union to both parties details the failures of Rio Tinto to provide good, healthy and nutritious food for its workers and calls for the company to be held responsible. It specifies actions Rio Tinto, and all mine operators in Western Australia who maintain FIFO operations, should take to fix the issue:

  • Undertake an audit of food quality and quantity against recognised nutritional standards;
  • Give control of the food budget and administration back to the mine managers for construction in camp facilities so that it can be managed by people on the ground at each location;
  • Significantly increase the budget allocation per meal as needed; and
  • Review the existing food service contracts in light of all these considerations.

The pictures sent by workers display a range of problems with the various meals presented.

There have been multiple instances of uncooked sausages;

A meat dish that consisted entirely of inedible gristle;

Multiple instances of recycled food, which was served for up to 3 days running with minor modification;

Cold congealed meats also served for up to 3 days running;

Mouldy and inadequate sandwiches;

And Rotten fruit.

This food provided by Rio Tinto is the only food workers have access to, not simply being able to shop for food themselves.

CFMEU State Secretary, Mick Buchan gave his thoughts on the issue and Rio Tinto’s responsiblity.

“Failure to provide quality food on a single occasion is not right. Systematic failure to consistently provide it is inexcusable and a complete disregard for the responsibility you have toward your workers.”

“We want to point out that Rio Tinto’s moral responsibility to their workforce is not subcontractable. If their food and facilities contractors like Sodexo are failing to provide healthy, safe and adequate food to workers, then they can’t simply shift the blame and walk away from their basic responsibility.”