Naked Into The Jungle – Rio Tinto, Workers and Communities

Australian Workers Film Guide


Produced for the CFMEU, this short documentary charts the nefarious actions of mining giant Rio Tinto in its attempt to impose individual contracts in the Hunter Valley No.1 Open Cut Mine in New South Wales and remove the union from the workplace. The film also reveals a history of worker exploitation directed at impoverished communities around the globe, starting with union busting in the Spanish Civil War, followed by the Namibia Rössing uranium mine controversy in the 1970s, destruction of the environment and conflict with indigenous peoples at Bougainville and Indonesian copper mines as well as the victimisation of union members at the Weipa bauxite mine in northern Australia.

The film shows open cut mining in the Hunter Valley, picket lines and protests, union meetings, union officials, workers, wives and community supporters talking about the dispute and the impact the company’s actions have had on their communities as well as an examination of the role of Australia’s Industrial Relations Commission. There is extensive footage covering the impact of Rio Tinto’s activities in Bougainville and Indonesia, including an interview with a villager in Kalimantan condemning the destruction of their environment.

Some prominent and well known figures featured include ACTU President Jenny George, ACTU Assistant Secretary Greg Combet as well as arch rivals Prime Minister John Howard and his industrial relations minister Peter Reith. The film’s title is derived from a comment by CFMEU Mining & Division Research Officer Peter Colley, when he addresses the imbalance of power between a worker and a transnational company, stating that if a worker gives up their collective bargaining right “they are really going naked in the jungle, they are defenseless.”

Special Notes/Achievements

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 24 mins

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