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News News Strong industrial relations laws needed to protect WA workers in uncertain times

ACTU President Sharan Burrow met with workers in Western Australia today to discuss concerns that major employers are continuing to use Work Choices to deny employees the right to bargain collectively with a union.

Ms Burrow will press the case for a strong independent umpire to settle disputes such as the current one involving Rio Tinto subsidiaries Pilbara Iron Ore and Hamersley Iron where the companies are refusing to negotiate with their employees' union.

Train drivers employed by the two companies want the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (Mining Division) to negotiate a new collective agreement following the expiry of Australian Workplace Agreements.

But after weeks of stalling tactics, the company said in August that it would have no more discussions with the union over improved pay and conditions for the workers.

Rio Tinto train driver and CFMEU member Dallas Mumford (pictured) said, "We are taking action because the company simply refuses to talk if the union is involved."

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