Rio Tinto faces the first industrial action at its Pilbara operations in Western Australia since 1992 when its train drivers stop work for 12 hours on Saturday.
According to Gary Wood from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, the company’s 39 train drivers were expected to vote in favour of the work stoppage at a Union meeting late on Monday night.
The drivers want an annual pay rise of 4.75% and $20,000 a year for employees affected by Rio’s plans to introduce driverless trains at its Pilbara operations by 2012.
Rio announced the ambitious automation plans in January, whereby its Pilbara mines would be controlled from a new centre in Perth, about 1,300 Kms from the miner’s railways.
Wood said the union would have preferred to negotiate an outcome with Rio to avoid industrial action but the company had not responded to a written request to meet and discuss the matter.