Management has been accused of leaving mine employees in limbo.
Wollongong Resources recently axed up to 200 people, allegedly without guaranteeing they will be reskilled and redeployed.
“Unfortunately, mining does not really retrain its staff well. They say, ‘Oh well you are a coal miner, you will get another job elsewhere,'” Collieries Staff and Officials Association spokesperson Paul Jeremijenko said according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“Most of us still have to put food on the table, we have families to look after and we need to find work. Especially with the cost of living, this is just another knife in the back.”
The remarks came after the employer called a staff meeting in the car park to announce Russell Vale coal mine would permanently shut down.
QMEB understands parent companies Jindal Steel and Powers made the decision eight months after underground employees accidentally exposed a borehole on 27 May 2023. Methane gas became released and ignited when rocky material came in contact with picks on the continuous miner’s cutting drum. The New South Wales Resources Regulator has already issued a prohibition notice and production is already suspended.
“Unfortunately despite the operation being compliant and safe to operate we cannot continue with regulatory uncertainty … due to ongoing regulatory risk and lack of support,” an internal email said according to the broadcaster.
“[We will] honour all our financial commitments including employee entitlements.”
Former worker Brent Boland revealed local contractors had already interviewed 150 colleagues who were stood down. They are searching for employment as far as Mudgee, Narrabri and Queensland.
The Mining and Energy Union is holding talks with the State Government about finding ways for more coal mines to stay open.
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