Connect with us

Stock Markets

Australia’s #MeToo puts miners and ministers in crosshairs of history

Published

on


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tourists walk around the forecourt of Australia’s Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

By Byron Kaye and Praveen Menon

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s mighty #MeToo wave is piling pressure on mining and political leaders who are preparing to face a reckoning over sexual harassment scandals stretching from the arid Outback to Parliament House.

Over the past 18 months, thousands of women have exposed a culture of bullying and abuse in mining, the country’s economic engine, as well as other workplaces, provoking public outrage and pledges of decisive action from politicians and executives.

Matters are now coming to a head.

The political response to revelations of workplace harassment is a white-hot issue in the run-up to a May 21 national election, with the ruling conservative coalition itself assailed by accusations of sexual impropriety and poor handling of an alleged rape case inside the parliament building in Canberra.

Meanwhile, mining companies are bracing for the publication next month of a report by Western Australia into sexual harassment at their operations in the state, one widely expected to zero in on their internal handling of complaints.

“Survivors of sexual misconduct should no longer live in fear, or shame, or silence,” said Elizabeth Broderick, a former Australian sex discrimination commissioner. “When one woman speaks, others will follow. I call on those who lead in the mining and resources sector to listen and learn from these stories and to step up with strong action.”

Reuters interviewed six women who said they had experienced sexual harassment or bullying at Australian mining sites in the past 18 months. Most of the alleged incidents were after Western Australia launched its highly publicised inquiry last August, putting the industry on notice to clean up its act.

Kylie-Jayne Schippers, a kitchen and maintenance worker at a remote mine owned by Adani Group was fired in December 2021, two days after lodging a complaint of sexual harassment and bullying that she said left her afraid to enter the site’s communal dining room, according to copies of the complaint and termination letter reviewed by Reuters.

Schippers filed the formal complaint to her employer, French services contractor Sodexo (EPA:EXHO), on Dec. 20 saying that an unknown person had circulated a note in the camp, falsely claiming to be from her, offering to grant a male engineer sexual favours at the site in exchange for favourable treatment.

On Dec. 22, she was fired for “failure to adhere to reasonable and lawful managerial instructions”, according to her termination letter from Sodexo. The letter said a review of her complaint concluded “no finding of bullying or harassment was substantiated”.

“I was scared, had anxiety through the roof, depression,” said Schippers, 48, adding the experience drove her to leave the industry. “They’ve done nothing except swept it under the carpet and got rid of me so they don’t have to deal with it.”

Sodexo said Schippers’ complaint “was urgently investigated before being resolved”, and that her “employment was later terminated for reasons unrelated to the grievance”.

Adani, which has renamed its Australian unit Bravus, said its staff had assisted Schippers during her experience and had made witness statements for Sodexo’s investigation. However, since the investigation was finalised, “this now a matter for the contractor and the employee”, it added.

‘NO FEAR, SHAME, SILENCE’

Mining underpins the economy, with the industry accounting for 11% of national output and Western Australia providing more than half of the world’s iron ore. Adani’s Carmichael mine in Queensland is one of the world’s largest untapped coal reserves.

But the sector’s workforce of 150,000 is predominantly – five-sixths – male, a gender mix that’s little improved since its beginnings over a century ago.

Melissa McLellan, who was a maintenance supervisor for mining giant BHP Group (NYSE:BHP) in Western Australia, said she filed a gender discrimination complaint in June 2021 after being passed over for increased responsibilities. Three days later, she was suspended from duties for a “fitness for work” assessment because she looked tired, a potential safety risk, according to documents and transcripts reviewed by Reuters.

“It’s jobs for the boys,” said McLellan, 37, who quit in January, citing bullying. “You’re just second class.”

BHP said McLellan’s allegations of bullying and harassment were investigated promptly and found to be “not substantiated”. A spokesperson added that the company was committed to creating a safe environment for people to speak up “and we regret that Ms McLellan did not have a positive experience with us”.

Most of the women who spoke to Reuters, including McLellan and Schippers, said their lawyers had filed, or were preparing to file, claims for compensation from the companies in question with the Fair Work Commission, a national workplace tribunal.

The FWC declined to comment on individual cases.

Such cases comprise just a sliver of the industry’s workforce. They nonetheless chime with a report published in February by leading miner Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) into its own culture that detailed an environment of bullying, harassment and racism – abuse described by CEO Jakob Stausholm as “systemic”.

That review, conducted by former discrimination commissioner Broderick and informed by the experiences and views of more than 10,000 employees, found that nearly 30% of women had experienced sexual harassment at work, with 21 women reporting actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.

WOMEN VOTERS TO THE FORE

The country’s political response to sexual harassment and discrimination is firmly under the public microscope.

Political commentators say a national furore over workplace harassment and discrimination have been a major cause of a decline in support for Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government among women, with opposition politicians and equality campaigners accusing the administration of shying away from necessary reforms.

In early 2021, female voters were evenly divided between the government and the opposition Labor party. By April this year, less than 40% of women planned to vote for Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government, according to pollster https:// Roy Morgan.

The case of alleged rape in parliament, in which a former staffer has been charged with sexually assaulting a colleague in a ministerial office in March 2019, sparked nationwide protests. Morrison and the government subsequently issued a public apology for the treatment of women in Australia.

The former staffer denies the allegation and the case will be in court later this year.

Equality advocates want mining companies to be stripped of their powers to internally investigate complaints of bullying and sexual harassment, and for an independent oversight body to be established instead.

The federal government has acted on some recommendations from the Sex Discrimination Commissioner in 2020 to crack down on harassment in workplaces, but not all, and says existing laws should already cover many types of complaints.

The Minerals Council of Australia, an industry body, says it supports giving the Australian Human Rights Commission power to investigate sexual discrimination in workplaces, but with “carefully defined” parameters to ensure procedural fairness and avoid reputational damage.

A process for people to get a “stop sexual harassment” order – similar to a restraining order – from the Fair Work Commission against alleged offending parties in a workplace has proven ineffective since it began in November.

In the first three months of the program’s existence, 17 people applied for the orders but none were granted, the Commission told Reuters, the first time those figures have been disclosed publicly.

A spokesperson for the FWC declined to comment on why it hadn’t issued a single anti-sexual harassment order but noted that some complaints “may still be open or may have been finalised without an order being made … or withdrawn”.

University of Technology law professor Karen O’Connell, who advised the government commission that recommended the creation of the orders, said the orders were too narrow because they failed to intervene when a complainant had quit or when an accused harasser was moved elsewhere in the company.

“Those stop sexual harassment orders are still really important and they need to exist but they are not going to cover the vast majority of situations that people are in when they’re being sexually harassed,” said O’Connell, adding that laws putting a “positive duty” on companies to create a safe environment would be more effective.

“It’s ridiculous to require an individual to step up and take on all of that system themselves.”

($1 = 1.4370 Australian dollars)

Stock Markets

Hyundai Motor Group to invest more than $10 billion in U.S. up to 2025

Published

on

3/3

© Reuters. Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung delivers remarks along with U.S. President Joe Biden on the automaker’s decision to build a new electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facility in Savannah, Georgia, as Biden ends his visit to Seoul, South K

2/3

By Heekyong Yang

SEOUL (Reuters) -Hyundai Motor Group said on Sunday it would invest an additional $5 billion in the United States by 2025 to strengthen collaboration with U.S. firms in advanced technology.

The investments, announced during a visit to Seoul by President Joe Biden, are for robotics, urban air mobility, autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, the group said.

Hyundai Motor Group, which houses Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Corp, on Friday announced plans to invest $5.5 billion in Georgia to build electric vehicle (EV) and battery facilities.

The new investment brings its planned U.S. total through 2025 to about $10 billion, above the $7.4 billion it announced last year.

The world’s third-biggest automaker by vehicles sales did not say where in the United States the additional $5 billion would be invested.

“Thanks to Hyundai, we are being part of this transformative automobile sector and accelerating us on a road where we’re going to be handing to United States of all electric future,” Biden told a news conference.

Standing next to him after a meeting, Hyundai Motor Group executive chair Euisun Chung said, “I am confident that this new plant in Georgia will help us become a leader in the America automobile industry with regards to building high quality electric vehicles for our U.S. customers.”

Hyundai’s new EV and battery manufacturing facilities will be based in the southern “right to work” state, where labour unions are less prevalent and cannot require workers to join.

Biden, a Democrat, has described himself as the most pro-union president in history. But the deal, announced by Georgia’s Republican governor, showed the compromises the president may have to make as he woos investment overseas.

Continue Reading

Stock Markets

Analysis-Tesla brand threatened by Musk harassment claim, criticism of Democrats

Published

on

3/3

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks about new Autopilot features during a Tesla event in Palo Alto, California October 14, 2015. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

2/3

By Hyunjoo Jin and Paul Lienert

(Reuters) – Elon Musk has made a name for himself and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) by breaking the rules, but the billionaire’s latest comments on politics and a claim of sexual harassment against him that he said is untrue may hurt the brand in the eyes of some car owners and employees.

Musk on Thursday denied a report by Business Insider that he sexually harassed a flight attendant on a private jet in 2016, calling the person who made the claim a liar.

The previous day, the Tesla chief executive, in the midst of a contentious effort to buy Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), said he would now vote Republican instead of Democrat and called the Democrats a “party of division and hate.”

Tesla also was cut this week from the widely followed S&P 500 ESG Index, which an index executive said was due to issues including claims of racial discrimination within the company and crashes linked to its vehicles.

Musk responded by calling such ratings around environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues a “scam,” and questioned how the index could drop an electric car firm while adding oil and gas producers.

Tesla could not immediately be reached to comment.

While Musk has made attention-grabbing headlines before – once calling one critic a “pedo guy” on Twitter – the latest controversies again raise the question whether his outspokenness will tarnish his likeability. And – since Musk is so closely tied to Tesla – whether that will that hurt the carmaker’s sales, especially in California.

The left-leaning state is Tesla’s largest market, accounting for nearly 40% of the company’s U.S. retail registrations last year, according to Experian (OTC:EXPGF) data. Tesla sales in California were up almost 70% in the year and it had a 6.5% share of all vehicles in the state, according to the California New Car Dealers Association.

#BoycottTesla was trending on Twitter on Friday and several people claimed they were canceling their car orders.

“In the past, I admired him for working to build a green business that’s transformational in energy use. But he is sadly becoming divisive as an attention seeking troll and I no longer trust that he is dedicated to the quality of his products. I will cancel my Tesla order,” said J Yeh, a Twitter user who describes herself as a lawyer who has lived in several cities including Los Angeles.

“You lost a potential customer,” a Twitter user named Ute Bauer from Germany said, adding in German: “To anyone reading this, cancel your orders.”

Reuters was unable to confirm if any Tesla orders had been canceled.

Many institutional investors may stand by Musk no matter what given the company’s strong performance, but that doesn’t mean some aren’t frustrated.

“They’re doing a lot of good things,” said Taylor Ogan, CEO of Snow Bull Capital, which owns Tesla shares. “It’s just disappointing when that is tainted by Elon Musk’s antics. Elon Musk is the best thing for Tesla and the worst thing for Tesla.”

One Tesla employee, who asked not to be identified, voiced frustration that Musk’s efforts outside Tesla appeared to be hurting the carmaker’s stock. “The company needs to do something to address the issue,” he said.

On Friday, Tesla shares dropped almost 9%, knocking about $66 billion off of Tesla’s stock market value and putting the stock at its lowest level since last August, with analysts citing “distraction risks” from the Twitter deal. Musk assured people on Thursday Tesla was constantly on his mind.

If discussion around water coolers at work focused on the sexual harassment claim against Musk rather than Tesla products, the end result could be “corrosive” for the Tesla brand, said John Smith, a former group vice president at GM who ran global product planning.

Tesla and SpaceX employees also could become “a little bit rattled and angry” because of Musk’s anti-Democratic party comments as technology company staff in California tend to be more liberal, said Jason Stomel, founder of tech talent agency Cadre.

Bill Nelson, administrator of NASA, which relies on Musk’s SpaceX to fly its astronauts to space, told Reuters on Thursday that Musk has a strong team of executives at the spacecraft maker and the agency’s partnership with the company was “going without a hitch.”

And Musk still has plenty of fans online. Twitter user @JVega103 said he was a Republican who owned a Tesla and just signed up for Tesla solar panels. “Thanks for everything you do,” the user tweeted.

That left some industry observers wondering whether Musk and Tesla would simply shake off these latest controversies, as they have in the past.

“Is Elon Musk now crazy, or crazy like a fox? He has earned the benefit of the doubt as he is often playing chess when the rest of us are playing checkers,” Northwestern (NASDAQ:NWE) University professor Erik Qualman said. “As Musk himself on ‘Saturday Night Live’ famously stated, ‘What, did you think I would be normal?'”

Continue Reading

Stock Markets

Hyundai Motor Group to invest $5 billion in U.S. up to 2025

Published

on

3/3

© Reuters. Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung delivers remarks along with U.S. President Joe Biden on the automaker’s decision to build a new electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facility in Savannah, Georgia, as Biden ends his visit to Seoul, South K

2/3

By Heekyong Yang

SEOUL (Reuters) -Hyundai Motor Group said on Sunday it would invest an additional $5 billion in the United States by 2025 to strengthen collaboration with U.S. firms in advanced technology.

The investments, announced during a visit to Seoul by President Joe Biden, are for robotics, urban air mobility, autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, the group said.

Hyundai Motor Group, which houses Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Corp, on Friday announced plans to invest $5.5 billion in Georgia to build electric vehicle (EV) and battery facilities.

The new investment brings its planned U.S. total through 2025 to about $10 billion, above the $7.4 billion it announced last year.

The world’s third-biggest automaker by vehicles sales did not say where in the United States the additional $5 billion would be invested.

“Thanks to Hyundai, we are being part of this transformative automobile sector and accelerating us on a road where we’re going to be handing to United States of all electric future,” Biden told a news conference.

Standing next to him after a meeting, Hyundai Motor Group executive chair Euisun Chung said, “I am confident that this new plant in Georgia will help us become a leader in the America automobile industry with regards to building high quality electric vehicles for our U.S. customers.”

Hyundai’s new EV and battery manufacturing facilities will be based in the southern “right to work” state, where labour unions are less prevalent and cannot require workers to join.

Biden, a Democrat, has described himself as the most pro-union president in history. But the deal, announced by Georgia’s Republican governor, showed the compromises the president may have to make as he woos investment overseas.

Continue Reading

News

Cryptocurrency8 hours ago

Technical Analysis Suggests That DOGE Price Will Fall In Next 24H

© Reuters. Technical Analysis Suggests That DOGE Price Will Fall In Next 24H The number 10 place on CoinMarketCap’s list...

Economy8 hours ago

As bear market looms, battered Wall St seeks elusive ‘Fed put’

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City,...

Commodities8 hours ago

Kyiv rules out ceasefire as Russia steps up offensive in Ukraine’s east

6/6 © Reuters. A local resident walks by a destroyed building after a rocket attack on a university campus, amid...

World10 hours ago

Analysis-Australian women unleash new political force on climate, integrity

3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Voters line up outside a Marrickville suburb polling station to cast their ballots on the...

World11 hours ago

In Japan, Biden to launch economic plan for region sceptical on benefits

3/3 © Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks with Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung (not pictured) on the...

World11 hours ago

Biden says ‘everybody’ should be concerned about monkeypox outbreak

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden pauses while speaking during a briefing from senior officials on efforts to...

Coronavirus13 hours ago

Shanghai reopens some public transport, still on high COVID alert

3/3 © Reuters. A staff member in a protective suit stands on a platform of a subway station, on the...

Stock Markets14 hours ago

Hyundai Motor Group to invest more than $10 billion in U.S. up to 2025

3/3 © Reuters. Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung delivers remarks along with U.S. President Joe Biden on the automaker’s...

Cryptocurrency14 hours ago

The truth behind the misconceptions holding liquid staking back

The truth behind the misconceptions holding liquid staking back Blockchains have relied on proof-of-work (PoW) validation since their inception. Yet...

World14 hours ago

Australia’s Labor to retake power after 9 years, independents may hold sway

3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Anthony Albanese, leader of Australia’s Labor Party, addresses supporters after incumbent Prime Minister and Liberal...

Stock Markets14 hours ago

Analysis-Tesla brand threatened by Musk harassment claim, criticism of Democrats

3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks about new Autopilot features during a Tesla event in Palo...

Stock Markets14 hours ago

Hyundai Motor Group to invest $5 billion in U.S. up to 2025

3/3 © Reuters. Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung delivers remarks along with U.S. President Joe Biden on the automaker’s...

Commodities14 hours ago

Ukraine rules out ceasefire as fighting intensifies in Donbas

5/5 © Reuters. A local resident walks by a destroyed building after a rocket attack on a university campus, amid...

World14 hours ago

Biden says ‘hello’ to N.Korea’s Kim amid tensions over weapons tests

3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks at a politburo meeting of the Worker’s Party...

Cryptocurrency17 hours ago

Florida Rep. Donalds introduces Financial Freedom Act companion bill in the House

Florida Rep. Donalds introduces Financial Freedom Act companion bill in the House Rep. Byron Donalds, a Florida Republican, introduced the...

Cryptocurrency17 hours ago

FCA will ‘absolutely’ consider recent stablecoin depegging when drafting crypto rules: Report

FCA will ‘absolutely’ consider recent stablecoin depegging when drafting crypto rules: Report Sarah Pritchard, the executive director of markets at...

Cryptocurrency18 hours ago

Finance Redefined: Lifeline for Terra projects, proposed Terra hard fork and more

Finance Redefined: Lifeline for Terra projects, proposed Terra hard fork and more The past week in the decentralized finance (DeFi)...

Cryptocurrency18 hours ago

MSP Recovery joins forces with Tokenology to release tokenized healthcare initiative

MSP Recovery joins forces with Tokenology to release tokenized healthcare initiative MSP Recovery LLC, a healthcare recovery firm based in...

Coronavirus18 hours ago

WHO expects more cases of monkeypox to emerge globally

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A section of skin tissue, harvested from a lesion on the skin of a monkey, that...

Cryptocurrency18 hours ago

3 red flags that signal a crypto project may be misleading investors

3 red flags that signal a crypto project may be misleading investors Satoshi Nakamoto left a large pair of shoes...

World18 hours ago

As Russia intensifies push for Donbas, Ukraine rules out ceasefire

5/5 © Reuters. A bus carrying service members of the Ukrainian armed forces, who surrendered at the besieged Azovstal steel...

Cryptocurrency18 hours ago

20% drop in the S&P 500 puts stocks in a bear market, Bitcoin and altcoins follow

20% drop in the S&P 500 puts stocks in a bear market, Bitcoin and altcoins follow Whoever coined the phrase...

Cryptocurrency18 hours ago

Do Kwon faces legal trouble in South Korea, China remains Bitcoin mining powerhouse, and Ethereum 2.0 eyes ‘huge testing milestone’: Hodler’s Digest, May 15-21

Do Kwon faces legal trouble in South Korea, China remains Bitcoin mining powerhouse, and Ethereum 2.0 eyes ‘huge testing milestone’:...

Cryptocurrency18 hours ago

OpenSea launches ‘Seaport’ ​​marketplace protocol allowing NFT bartering

OpenSea launches ‘Seaport’ ​​marketplace protocol allowing NFT bartering Nonfungible token marketplace OpenSea has announced the launch of a Web3 marketplace...

Cryptocurrency20 hours ago

Crypto gaming and the monkey run: How we should build the future of GameFi

Crypto gaming and the monkey run: How we should build the future of GameFi You’ve seen it before. An amazingly...

Cryptocurrency20 hours ago

Altcoin prices briefly rebounded, but derivatives metrics predict worsening conditions

Altcoin prices briefly rebounded, but derivatives metrics predict worsening conditions On May 12, the total crypto market capitalization reached its...

Cryptocurrency20 hours ago

3K+ Bit Digital hosting partner’s crypto miners go offline after explosion and fire

3K+ Bit Digital hosting partner’s crypto miners go offline after explosion and fire New York-headquartered crypto mining firm Bit Digital...

Stock Markets20 hours ago

Siemens Energy launches $4.3 billion bid for remaining Siemens Gamesa stake

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A model of a wind turbine with the Siemens Gamesa logo is displayed outside the annual...

Cryptocurrency21 hours ago

Price analysis 5/20: BTC, ETH, BNB, XRP, ADA, SOL, DOGE, DOT, AVAX, SHIB

Price analysis 5/20: BTC, ETH, BNB, XRP, ADA, SOL, DOGE, DOT, AVAX, SHIB Bitcoin’s (BTC) tight correlation with the legacy...

World21 hours ago

New York judge approves congressional map, throwing Democrats into disarray

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People fill out ballots during voting in the New York primary election at a polling site...

Trending