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Published: 8 Jan 2018
The CFMEU has condemned today’s move by the shareholders of the Port Kembla Coal Terminal (PKCT) to lockout 60 employees, effectively suspending them without pay, from this Sunday night.
“This is an outrageous move by PKCT to instigate a lockout which can only serve to worsen a dispute over an Enterprise Agreement,” said Bob Timbs, South-West Vice President of CFMEU Mining and Energy.
“Our members have been trying to negotiate a new enterprise agreement with PKCT and instead of continuing those talks in good faith, the company has decided to lock the workforce out for five days,” Mr Timbs said.
PKCT is owned and operated by local coal mining companies South 32, Glencore, Peabody Energy, Centennial Coal and Wollongong Coal.
“The CFMEU is ready to sit down with PKCT and its shareholders to find a way forward without the need to resort to tactics which will create further disruption to coal loading activities through Port Kembla,” Mr Timbs said.
“We know the coal companies are behind this move and we are calling on all those involved to step back and reflect on how to resolve this dispute rather than make matters worse.”
Mr Timbs said the CFMEU was seeking a commitment from the shareholders in PKCT to engage in proper bargaining instead of resorting to lockouts.
“PKCT has also taken the extraordinary step of applying to the Fair Work Commission to terminate the current Enterprise Agreement and go back to the Award. This is unacceptable to workers who have accepted wage increases over several years based on tradeoffs that have provided tangible benefits to the company.”
Mr Timbs said PKCT had engaged in a protracted push to strip back conditions during negotiations.
“PKCT is also attempting to instigate a ‘divide and rule’ approach by seeking to exclude 20 per cent of the workforce from the new agreement. Workers have rejected this move in a vote late last year but instead of finding a solution, the company and its shareholders have decided on a lockout.”
Mr Timbs said the CFMEU would continue to publicise the “shareholders” (South 32, Glencore, Peabody Energy, Centennial Coal and Wollongong Coal) as those responsible for the hard line industrial relations tactics PKCT was engaging in.
CFMEU Members will establish a peaceful picketline outside the Port Kembla Coal Terminal on Monday.