A report released by Rio Tinto on Tuesday revealed a culture of bullying, harassment and racism at the global mining giant, including 21 complaints of actual or attempted rape or sexual assault over the past five years, the Reuters news agency reported.
Almost half of the workers testified to an external review of the miner’s workplace culture commissioned by Rio Tinto that they had been bullied, „while racism was found to be common across a number of areas,“ Reuters reporetd.
In Serbia, the authorities have said that Rio Tinto’s business in the country is over after the environmentalist protests against the Anglo – Australian company’s plan to mine lithium and its potential hazard to nature and public health.
Local employees have not complained about any of the mentioned problems the Rio Tinto’s workers had elsewhere.
Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm told Reuters the results were „disturbing“ and the company would implement all 26 recommendations from the report by former Australian sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick.
„The eye-opener for me was two-fold,“ Stausholm said. „I hadn’t realised how much bullying exists in the company and secondly that it’s quite systemic – the three issues of bullying, sexual harassment and racism … that’s extremely disturbing.“
Reuters said that the company launched the review in March 2021, soon after Stausholm took over the top job, adding he took the position amid a widespread criticism against the company after it destroyed the 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge rock shelters to expand an iron ore mine.
According to Reuters, the study included over 10,000 employees, nearly a quarter of its 45,000-strong workplace shared their experiences and views.
„The report found nearly 30 precent of women and about seven percent of men have experienced sexual harassment at work, with 21 women reporting actual or attempted rape or sexual assault,“ the agency said.
It added that racism was a „significant challenge“ for employees at many locations. People working in a country different to their birth experienced high rates of racism, while nearly 40 percent of men who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in Australia had experienced racism.“
Reuters cited Rio Tinto as saying the „reforms will focus on a commitment from the company’s leadership to create a safe and inclusive working environment, including increasing diversity within the company. It would also ensure the company’s remote mine site facilities are safe and make it easier for staff to call out unacceptable behaviours.“