QMEB » Coal workers could share in over $100M says report
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Coal workers could share in over $100M says report

Glencore coal

Mine employees can expect to receive their part of lucrative back payments.

Authorities are considering how to compensate Queensland and New South Wales crew members who were estimated to be underpaid by more than $100 million.

One proposal involves having the Federal Government “facilitate the reimbursement”. The Fair Work Commission (FWC) and Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) would also be required to contribute funds.

“Normally in such cases it is the employers who must recompense the workers but this case may be different. The coal miners were employed by a series of labour hire companies but the alleged underpayment agreements were approved by Australia’s most militant union, the CFMEU, which actually negotiated and signed a number of them. In addition, each agreement was approved by the FWC,” News Limited reported.

The remarks were published after former coal employee and incumbent Senator Malcolm Roberts revealed thousands of his former colleagues were incorrectly paid for more than a decade.

“[They] did not receive the 25 per cent ‘casual’ premium workers all over Australia receive … because they [labour hire companies] had negotiated with the CFMEU and others to endorse agreements that enabled labour hire companies to hire miners on a casual basis without paying the Australian standard 25 per cent premium for casual labour,” the report said.

“Savings and profit boosts delivered by these agreements were monumental [for employers].”

Roberts claimed that casual mine workers should have received $151,606 each year. However, they were only paid $118,315. If the $33,291 difference is multiplied by thousands of employees over the past six to 10 years, the combined total exceeds $100M.

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