QMEB ยป Thousands of mine workers lost their job since January
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Thousands of mine workers lost their job since January

Idemitsu Boggabri Coal Mine
File photo of Idemitsu Boggabri coal miners

A deadly virus caused thousands of resources employees to lose income in the past two months, a consultancy has found.

Deloitte has revealed the Chinese coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a devastating impact on the Queensland mining industry.

12,000 jobs gone

Since the first Australian case was confirmed on January 25, about 12,000 mine workers were informed their services would no longer be required and advised to ‘stay at home and stay safe’.

“We now know formally what many Queenslanders have been feeling that the economy has been hit,” Deloitte Access Economics lead partner Pradeep Philip told the Nine Network.

The consultancy discovered from the total 120,000 jobs lost in the past two months, the hardest hit age group was Queenslanders in their 70s who represented 12,000 redundancies alone. The next largest age group to face the chop were people in the 20s, totalling 9600 across the Sunshine State.

10 per cent unemployment

In March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported the national unemployment rate was steady at 5.2 per cent but Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg predicts the jobless rate could still jump to about 10 per cent later in the year.

Some social distancing measures have been relaxed like reopening popular beaches, allowing patients to proceed with elective surgery, and visiting the elderly in aged care facilities. However, even if all the restrictions were removed, it is still expected to take many months for jobs to be filled.

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“The industry is managing the situation as best it can and, once we get freer movement of people, particularly from interstate those numbers will bounce back,” Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane told the broadcaster. “The industry is continuing to invest, it is continuing to grow.”

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) fears the Federal Government’s plan to accelerate changes to enterprise agreements may tempt mining companies to use the COVID-19 crisis to create less favourable work conditions across the industry.

“These new provisions mean workers will have just 24 hours’ notice before voting on a change to their enterprise agreement, which could have long-term impacts on important conditions,” CFMEU national president Tony Maher said in a public statement. “We urge employers not to take advantage of this crisis by using changed workplace laws to undermine the conditions contained in Enterprise Agreements that have been negotiated in good faith by workers.”

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  • Really?

    This is just the CFMEU doing what they do best.

    The jobs have been “lost” due to the restrictions, on travel no one would be (or is) any worse off.

    I have been approached by no less than 6 prospective employers filling these positions (No less than 12 offers)

    Mind you, attracting people to coal jobs is a tough task these days. I have made sure these people that approached me recognise that I will only undertake “ethical” mining, which excludes thermal coal.