Rio Tinto told to reinstate unfairly dismissed Mongolian worker

The supreme Court in Mongolia has ordered Rio Tinto to reinstate an unfairly dismissed employee, and pay compensation.

The worker was sacked for protesting against discrimination over the remuneration paid to Mongolian employees.

In a news release, the IndustriALL Global Union said there was a disparity of MNT 3 million for local Mongolian workers at Rio Tinto compared to MNT 30 million for expatriates a month, on average.

It said the Ministry of Labour confirmed that Oyu Tolgoi and Rio Tinto were in violation of Clause #8.1 of the Oyu Tolgoi IA "in the most blatant, wanton manner and never made a single step towards enforcing this obligation".

The Supreme Court ruled that the termination of employment was unjust and unlawful.

"This is a huge victory not only for Sainkhuu Gantuya, but for all workers in Mongolia, especially at Oyu Tolgo. This is a significant and important pushback against Rio Tinto, particularly in the context of IndustriALL Global Union's global corporate campaign against Rio Tinto," IndustriALL Global Union Assistant Secretary General Kemal Özkan said.

Rio Tinto has invested $6 billion in Mongolia but has frozen further development amid disputes with the government.

Oyu Tologi produced 30,000 tonnes of copper concentrate in the third quarter, reaching capacity for the first time since it went into operation this year.

Releasing its Q3 results on Tuesday, Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh (pictured) said: "We achieved strong production results in the third quarter, with copper volumes up as Oyu Tolgoi ramps up to full capacity and Kennecott continues to recover ahead of expectations. Productivity improvements in our Australian operations led to record quarterly thermal coal production. In iron ore, we achieved record production and shipments in Western Australia following the official opening of our landmark Pilbara 290 port and rail expansion, four months ahead of its original schedule and $400 million under budget. We maintained good progress against our strategic priorities to improve the performance of our businesses, strengthen the balance sheet and deliver our approved growth projects. We are also making further important gains in productivity across our operations and continue to drive costs out of the business."

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