News > POA

London urged to drop Rio as medal sponsor Back To Main


The News 

SYDNEY: Mining unions on Thursday urged the London 2012 Olympic committee to drop resources giant Rio Tinto as its medals supplier and official sponsor due to an ongoing dispute with workers in Canada.
Led by Canada’s United Steelworkers’ union, the “Off the Podium” campaign wants to see Rio, chosen to supply the metals for the July Games’ medals, ditched after an 800-worker lockout in Alma, Quebec.
Campaign convenor Joe Drexler said the dispute was just the latest episode in what he described as an agenda of “deunionisation” by Rio.
“The Olympics are supposed to promote the idea of fair play and the idea of solidarity,” Drexler told AFP at a global mining union conference in Sydney where the initiative was launched.
Real Valiquette, spokesman for the 780 workers locked out of Rio Tinto’s Quebec aluminium project, said the dispute was about Rio replacing retired staff with half-price contract workers, eroding wages and conditions.
“You cannot be a company that sponsors Olympic medals and do this to people,” Valiquette said.
The London Mining Network of activist groups and Australia’s mining unions have thrown their support behind the movement.

Miners from the US state of Utah who extract the ore used in the medals also strongly backed the campaign, according to their union spokesman Manny Arme