‘Zero tolerance policy for decent bosses’: South 32 puts another Illawarra company out of business as it continues purge

Published: 31 Aug 2020

The mining union has slammed South 32 for killing local business, Southern Colliery Maintenance (SCM), due to its current campaign to eliminate all decent employers from its Illawarra sites.



SCM has been formally put on notice by South 32 that its long-standing contract at Appin colliery will be terminated within weeks. As a result the local owners of SCM – Bill Polychrone, Mark Gazzola, and Paul de Leeuw – have informed their 126 employees the company will be closing.



Born in the Illawarra, SCM has employed locals in the region for 21 years.



“South 32 now has a zero tolerance policy for decent bosses, and poor old Southern Colliery Maintenance is the latest victim,” said CFMEU South Western District Vice President Bob Timbs.



“SCM is an innocent victim of South 32’s campaign to drive contractors with acceptable employer records out of the region, leaving only the cheapest and worst providers as replacements.



“As SCM have made clear, at no stage were they criticised by South 32 for performance issues. Their crime was treating their employees ethically and fairly and thereby setting a bad example by South 32’s standards.



“SCM has won numerous awards from South 32 during its engagement, including prizes for safety. Clearly there is no place for this kind of operator under modern management.



“I’m not usually in the practice of heaping praise on bosses, but it is fair to say SCM were decent bosses who tried to look after their employees. They were locals who cared about this industry and the people who work in it.

“

To see them driven out of business during a pandemic by South 32’s unethical current management is a huge shame, and a real blow to our region.

”

Prior to the SCM cut, South 32 has used the cover of Covid to cut some 250 contractor jobs over the past two months, mostly from the Appin mine.



As well as SCM, South 32 recently announced it would be terminating around 30 contractors employed by Ch4 Drilling.



“Any local company offering decent pay and conditions is in the firing line for the South 32,” Mr Timbs said.



“Ch4 Drilling also has a decent agreement with its workforce, so it too needs to feel the pain apparently."