Rio Tinto says “ambit claims” slow negotiations.

Extravagant claims made during EBA negotiations are affecting Australia’s competitiveness according to Rio Tinto boss Phil Edmands.

Edmands said that so-called “ambit claims” (also known as "blue sky demands") made during the bargaining process drag out the negotiations, costing time and money.

“Certain labour market principles have been hard fought and long established. Rio Tinto firmly believes they must be respected, protected and preserved,” he said.

“Of course everyone is entitled to put forward whatever demands he or she wishes in relation to employment conditions,” Edmands said.

“But the system should limit the ability of ambit claims to cause delay and damage labour market flexibility.”

Rio Tinto has listed examples of such outlandish requests, including bereavement leave for pets, cushioned seating in crib huts, an extra week of holidays, and annually accrued sick leave.

Edmands has said that current negotiations over employment conditions in some cases at Rio is happening “in jobs that could be eradicated forever by market forces and lack of competitiveness”.

The Courier Mail reported that both the CFMEU and AWU are unaware of any such claims.

Ambit claims are conventionally used during labour conditions negotiations to achieve a bargaining position in direct opposition to a “lowball” offer.

The CFMEU has been approached for further comment.

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