QMEB ยป Qld coal employees approve better conditions
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Qld coal employees approve better conditions

Blackwater Coal Mine
Blackwater Coal Mine

A mineral producer received the green light to improve its employment environment.

A more attractive enterprise agreement was approved at Whitehaven’s recently purchased Blackwater and Daunia coal operations.

The deal means 300 workers will no face WorkChoices agreement offsets, which reportedly absorb future superannuation increases and strip those affected of up to $100,000 in accrued entitlements. This was feared to affect those planning to retire or accept a redundancy package.

As a result they will no longer resort to “crippling” strike action, which would have disrupted five mine sites for 48 hours.

“The workforce had been previously shifted to WorkChoices era individual contracts of employment by BHP that reduced, amongst other provisions, their entitlement to redundancy pay from a maximum of 30 weeks to 12 weeks,” Collieries’ Staff and Officials Association (CSOA) Queensland organiser Zac Gallagher said in a public statement.

“The agreement that workers have just supported achieves significant improvements, restoring workers’ minimum entitlements under the Black Coal Award and securing much-needed improvements to job security and consultation. The new agreement has also improved job security by removing casual engagement, improving roster consultation, and delivering wage increases.”

Gallagher hopes CSOA members’ overwhelmingly negative feedback to Whitehaven management sends a strong message to the industry as a whole.

“These contracts are not often explained to workers, no comparisons are offered, and they are tabled on a take it or leave it basis with no discussion of the real material impact on their arrangements,” he said.

“Our members are frustrated with this approach and will continue to exercise their right to bargain moving forward.”

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