3 April 2024
ETU condemns redundancies at Rio Tinto Gove refinery
The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) condemns the decision by Rio Tinto to make 28 union members working at the Gove refinery redundant.

ETU members received notice that their employment at the refinery would be terminated after 28 days, with some members having worked at the site for over 20 years. Rio Tinto plans to replace the permanent workers with contractors for the remaining years of the mine’s life.
“We absolutely condemn this decision by Rio Tinto,” says ETU Divisional State Secretary Peter Ong. “And just yesterday we heard from the Chair of the Net Zero Economy Agency, Greg Combet, who highlighted the importance of supporting workers through the transition to renewable energy.
“Rio Tinto is doing the opposite of what the Net Zero Economy Agency advocates for. The Northern Territory government should look to the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan and how it ensures that no energy workers will be left behind in the state’s transition to renewables,” says Mr Ong.
The workers all reside in company housing, and are well and truly part of the community in Gove, meaning they have been given 28 days to pack up their lives, uproot their families, and relocate.
“These members will most likely have to move away from Gove to find employment opportunities. Their partners also work in the community, and their kids go to local schools. Rio Tinto hasn’t just ended their employment, this decision has uprooted theirs and their families’ lives. It’s an absolute disgrace,” says Mr Ong.
“We know this energy transition is coming. ETU members in coal, gas, and mining industries know it’s coming. We need a plan in place to guarantee that these workers, their families, and their communities, are not left behind.
“The ETU was proud to be involved in the Queensland Government Energy Workers Charter that guarantees that no workers will be left without a job in instances like what’s happening in Gove. Our members understand that the refinery is nearing the end of its life, but that shouldn’t mean they’re turfed out of a job, their homes, and their community because that date is approaching,” says Mr Ong.
“All Australian jurisdictions and employers in coal, gas and mining industries should be looking to the Queensland Government Energy Workers Charter as the gold standard as we transition to renewables. The transition is inevitable, but job losses absolutely shouldn’t be.”

For more information, call Peter Ong on 0419 721 046 or Kristin Perissinotto on 0448 633 858