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Strike wins more job security for mine workers

CFMEU Mining and Energy protest against Wollongong Coal's employment practices at the Wongawilli Colliery on 14 January 2019. (Photo credit: CFMEU Mining and Energy/Facebook)

Coal mine workers on New South Wales’ South Coast will enjoy more job security after week-long industrial action.

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union’s (CFMEU’s) Mining and Energy Division declared its seven-day strike a success at Wongawilli Colliery, 98km south of Sydney.

“Mine workers have achieved victory against Wollongong Coal, after a nine-month campaign that culminated in strike action before the company agreed to settle,” the trade union said in a public statement.

The strike started on January 14 to negotiate a fair enterprise agreement for the 100 per cent casual workforce employed on individual contracts that CFMEU claimed to offer the “lowest pay rates in the district”.

“They took a strong message to the company: Ripped off but fighting back,” CFMEU said. “The strike ended swiftly when the company agreed to return to negotiations, and an enterprise agreement with wages and conditions that are consistent with other sites in the district was agreed.”

CFMEU Mining and Energy district vice president Bob Timbs hailed the new enterprise agreement as a “crystal clear example of union power”.

CFMEU general president Tony Maher promised the mine workers will have more attractive incentives to continue working for Wollongong Coal.

“The conversion of permanent, well paid jobs into poorly paid, insecure jobs is a huge issue right across the country,” Maher said. “What this win proves is that the trend is reversible.”

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