Steelworkers Outraged by Lack of Ethics in London Olympics
LONDON, U.K., 20 June, 2012 – International outrage is growing over Rio Tinto’s involvement in the London Olympics following the shocking revelation the mining giant has been allowed to “slip through” auditing and certification requirements.
Rio Tinto is the only Olympic supplier that was able to start production without having an audit in place, the watchdog Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 says. Rio Tinto is supplying the metal from which the Olympic medals are cast.
“It is shocking that Rio Tinto was not audited by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), despite numerous red flags,” said Ken Neumann, Canadian Director of the United Steelworkers (USW) union.
“For years, credible organizations have reported environmental damage and human rights violations by Rio Tinto in its operations around the world,” Neumann noted.
“Rio Tinto’s Olympic presence and the lack of an audit clearly undermine the legitimacy of the process adopted by LOCOG and the intent to make the London Games the most sustainable ever.”
USW filed its own formal complaint against Rio Tinto with LOCOG, which was denied. The complaint cited a lockout of 780 USW members by Rio Tinto in Alma, Quebec, as a violation of the Ethical Trading Initiative.
USW members in Utah who produced the metal for the Olympic medals have also called for Rio Tinto to be thrown off the Olympic podium.
Twenty-five trade unions throughout the world have contacted their national Olympic committees protesting Rio Tinto’s involvement and requesting the company’s removal from the Games.
The USW is escalating its Off The Podium campaign and has been joined by IndustriALL, a global union federation whose affiliates represent 50 million workers throughout the world.
For more information on the campaign to take Rio Tinto off the Olympic podium, see
Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, +1 416-544-5951
Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, +1 416-434-7907,
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, +1 416-544-5966, +1 416-434-2221,
For more information about the Alma workers’ dispute with Rio Tinto, see