Rio Tinto to turn to contractors for iron ore

Rio Tinto has announced it will now only hire contract labour for its iron ore operations.

The announcement is part of the miner’s new recruitment protocol for its iron ore division.

It is understood, as part of this new protocol, all external hires will be filled by Cat 1 contractors – with the exception of manager, superintendent and frontline supervisory roles – through the contract service providers Workpac, Skilled, and DT Workforce.

However, the miner will make exceptions relating to indigenous employment, trainees, graduates and apprentices.

A Rio Tinto spokesperson confirmed changes were made last week by the miner around its iron ore hiring protocols.

Unions have slammed the decision, calling it disappointing.

“The message that is preached by Rio is one of local jobs and supporting the communities that they operate out of,” a spokesperson said.

“The reality is we don’t see this in practice. Contracting roles are an insecure form of employment and come with lesser wages and conditions than full time roles. This decision does nothing to support local Pilbara communities who are already struggling. The same communities who are providing Rio with record tonnage and profits.”

Earlier this year, Rio Tinto cut a number of contractor positions from its iron ore operations, and as recently as this weekend is understood to have cut a number of fitter positions.