Cook Colliery mine targets workers to go without pay for a minimum period of 2 months

Published: 5 Apr 2017

Approximately 110 mineworkers have been targeted by CC Pty Ltd to go without pay for a minimum period of 2 months due to the longwall 203 panel been inundated with water. The company claim no responsibility for their decision in managing the potential for inrush of water from the above castor seam.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Division Queensland District Vice-President, Glenn Power said it is an absolute disgrace that the industrial relations regime in this so called modern era can allow CC Pty Ltd to stand down workers without pay for a minimum period of 2 months without any justification.

“CC Pty Ltd is claiming that the source of water was unknown. What we know so far is that the mine has a large body of water in a panel that was put there by the company several years ago, to stop the coal in that panel from catching fire.  The current panel (203) sits under that flooded panel and panel 203 had been experiencing leaking water from the roof for several months. The company had instituted a flooding procedure for the panel but assured our members that before commencing production that the water was not an issue.  However, after about 48 hours of production a large body of water came in through the goaf area flooding panel 203. Cook Colliery workers have financial commitments and bills to pay, just like anyone else, but CC Pty Ltd will not implement any genuine suggestions or proposals advocated by the CFMEU to minimise the impact of the company decision on the individual employees,” said Mr Power.

The CFMEU is disputing the company’s claim that they can stand employees down without pay under their enterprise agreement, through the Fair Work Commission.  However, this dispute has been set back by almost two months and the dispute will not progress until the CC Pty Ltd’s appeal of a previous Fair Work Commission decision issued by Commissioner Spencer 13 March 2017 has been decided. 

Mr Power states that “this issue could be avoided by the Company agreeing to arbitrate our dispute about the stand down. By not agreeing to this they are ensuring that Justice is delayed for the workers stood down.”

“Local workers and their families deserve good, steady jobs and it’s time mining giants are held to account in this distorted industrial relations system.

We call on CC Pty Ltd to immediately cease their path of destruction for these employees who have been targeted by the company and implement the genuine proposals advocated by the CFMEU to minimise the impact on these individual employees” Mr Power said.

Media contact: Elisa Fernandes 0438 021 203