Former employee wants an apology

IN a case of alleged intimidation, accusations and insults a former Rio Tinto employee wants an apology.

Former Boyne Smelter worker Paul Barrett opened his front door last week to two men claiming to be working as consultants for Boyne Smelter.

The men who could not provide any identification said they were investigating a case of vandalism.

It is claimed rocks were thrown on a conveyor belt causing damage to the plant on the Queens Birthday and HookUp long weekend.

They told Mr Barrett they had a list of people and were working their way through that list.

“They were asking me if I knew anyone at HookUp or anyone with a boat,” he said.

It is assumed that whoever caused the damage gained access to the plant by a boat.

“The easiest access to the conveyor belt is from the water apparently,” Mr Barrett said.

“They more or less accused me of throwing large rocks onto the conveyor belt.

“I was insulted by these consultants asking me all sorts of personal questions. It’s an invasion of privacy.

“If the police had knocked on my door and asked me these same questions I would have gladly answered, but I had no idea who these men were and they couldn’t prove who they were.

“I felt intimidated and threatened.

“I don’t need these people throwing accusations at me on top of all the other stresses I have in my life at the moment.”

Paul was terminated from Boyne Smelter in April last year after more than 13 years at the plant.

“I didn’t have any trouble when I worked there and I haven’t been near the plant since,” he said.

“If they thought I was guilty why didn’t they call the police.

“I’d like a written apology from them after the accusing overtones from the men. This is the final straw, I’ve had enough.”

A Boyne Smelter spokesperson said a very serious breach had occurred when the equipment was damaged.

“We quite often use independent investigators in our business and it’s not unusual,” he said.

“We have a Rio-risk team who utilize consultants when they think a risk may be involved.

“They are talking to a whole range of people including ex-employees, employees and a range of community members.”

Tannum Sands Police have confirmed a complaint was made.

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