Resources employees and their extended family are being asked to do their part to help stop miners from undercutting permanent staff through outsourcing work.
The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has launched a campaign to guarantee the same employment conditions across the sector, regardless of whether a contract is for permanent or labour hire work.
Protect Casual Miners
CFMEU wants mine workers who are either casual or permanent, their family members, those who live in a mining region, or work in any industry that supports permanent jobs to fill-in an online form. Information collected will automatically create a template letter that can be instantly emailed to the most relevant federal members of parliament and senators.
The effort is part of the Protect Casual Miners campaign, which aims to stop thousands more permanent jobs from being lost to casual labour hire providers, which allegedly pay about 33 per cent less for the same work and often without offering annual pay rises, paid leave or even accident pay. Labour hire workers can also be relocated to other operations at any time.
The Fair Work Commission has ruled two enterprise agreements from BHP’s Operations Services in-house labour hire service failed to pay affected workers more than the relevant mining industry and black coal mining industry award rates.
The Federal Court recently revealed that WorkPac Group casual mine workers who were rostered in advance for regular, full-time hours cannot be considered casuals from a legal perspective. They should receive the same entitlements as permanent workers like paid leave.
Stop changing the rules
CFMEU now wants the Federal Government to resist employer demands to intervene by neither overturning these judicial rulings nor introducing a new law that allows workers to stay casual as long as the company sees fit.
“We cannot let big business change the rules just because they do not like the decision,” CFMEU national president Tony Maher said in a public statement.
“If you work full-time on an Australian mine you should get the conditions you are legally entitled to as an Australian worker, like sick leave and holidays.”
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The McKell Institute estimates coal mining communities have suffered about $1 billion in lost economic opportunities due to labour hire casualisation according to the union.