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Mine contractors walk off the job multiple times over proposed pay cut

Idemitsu Boggabri Coal Mine
File photo of Idemitsu Boggabri coal miners

A foreign proponent plans to hire contract workers directly for less and the move sparked days of industrial action on August 27 and 28.

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) confirmed about 100 labour contracted workers stopped work and formed a picket line outside the mine gates for six hours on each day to ask for their former remuneration and work conditions to be restored at Boggabri Coal Mine, 108 km northwest of Tamworth in New South Wales.

Lower pay offered

The industrial action came after Japan-headquartered proponent Idemitsu terminated a labour contract with Downer Group and decided to offer the workers direct employment instead, except at a lower rate.

This includes:

  • introducing a 7/7 roster to promote fly-in fly-out instead of local workers
  • reducing wages to between $30,000 to $40,000 a year less than what permanent workers receive from Hunter Valley coal mines and without “fair” bonus structures
  • no provision to support skills training for workers
  • no access to arbitration by the Fair Work Commission for dispute resolution by an independent umpire.
  • “We are calling on Idemitsu to do the right thing and offer workers an enterprise agreement with fair rosters, pay and conditions,”

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‘Industry standards’

CFMMEU Northern Mining and NSW Energy President Peter Jordan said in a public statement. “These workers produce valuable, high quality export coal but their pay and conditions don’t reflect industry standards and they deserve better.”

The workers hope their remuneration will bring their wages closer in line with the state’s “coal industry standards”.

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