Earlier this month, Australia’s richest man – iron ore magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest – launched a bizarre attack on an innovative project in the Latrobe Valley producing hydrogen from brown coal.
Australian coal miners fought for and won long service leave entitlements over 70 years ago.
National Convention is our union’s most democratic forum, bringing together hundreds of delegates from mines, power stations, ports and coal terminals around the country to set our direction every four years.
Reckless and undiplomatic rhetoric about China from a number of Coalition MPs are putting needless pressure on coal jobs at a time of uncertainty in our trade relationship.
China buys about $15 billion worth of Australian coal every year. That doesn’t mean we should never criticise China. We need a robust relationship that acknowledges our differences.
Pressure from our Protect Casual Miners campaign has forced a number of LNP politicians out of the woodwork on casualisation in mining. Unfortunately their arguments don’t hold water.
Every member of our Union should be enormously proud of our big court win for casuals in the matter of WorkPac v Rossato. This is a decision that has deeply rattled employers because it is a fatal blow to the ‘permanent casual’ business model they have been using for years to rip off workers, especially in coal mining.
Mining is one of the industries that has, so far, remained operational during the COVID-19 outbreak across the country.
While it’s a relief that most jobs have been maintained, we understand that continuing to work is causing stress and anxiety for Members, who have faced continually changing rules and working conditions as well as worrying about their own and their families’ health.
'As leader of the union representing Australian coal miners and power workers, the climate challenge has been on my radar for a very long time. There is so much at stake for members, their families and communities in getting climate policy right. So it is beyond disheartening to witness the destruction of good policy and the degradation of the debate over the past decade. In the absence of a coherent and economy-wide energy and climate strategy, we instead have entrenched Climate Wars where coal is the only villain and many participants have reflexive rather than rational positions.' - Speech to Sydney Institute, 27 November 2019
Twenty years ago, our union stared down a fiercely anti-union government and won. When the Oakdale miners lost their jobs and entitlements when the mine operator suddenly went into administration in 1999, we were up against a government that had sent dogs and masked goons on to the waterfront to break a strong union.
The introduction of the Morrison Government’s Ensuring Integrity Bill signals that we are heading towards another major assault on unions’ rights to do their core job of representing members.
If you want confirmation that our politics on energy and climate is truly cooked, look no further than the febrile reaction to BHP's announcement that it intends to work with customers along its supply chain to reduce carbon emissions.