Published: 18 Mar 2020
Major mining companies must meet their responsibilities to workers and their communities during COVID-19 Pandemic
Statement by Tony Maher CFMEU and Daniel Walton AWU
Like all Australians we are concerned about the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus and the social, economic and health impacts of the global pandemic.
At the outset, we wish express our sympathies to all those who have suffered as a result of the spread of COVID-19 both in Australia and throughout the world. We also record our appreciation of the efforts and self-sacrifice of the many health workers who now and in the future will bear the brunt of confronting the effects of COVID-19.
As representatives of the main unions representing Australian mine workers, we believe it is important at this time that workers in the mining industry are given some assurances about any disruption to work and income as a result of the spread of COVID-19.
For this reason, we are asking that mining companies adopt (as a minimum) the proposals set out below.
However, we believe that if a stand down situation emerges because of the impact of COVID-19, the following minimum conditions should apply:
The Australian mining industry has been an economic success story and the workers that comprise the industry have been central to this success. The big mining companies have done well in recent years and it is now time for those companies to help cushion the blow of COVID-19 impacts on mine workers.
We believe the above proposals are both reasonable and proportionate.
We are prepared to work with employers in the industry to ensure that the mining industry continues to be a driving force of the Australian economy into the future.
At this time, however, it is important that workers are given as much certainty as possible so that we can meet this challenge together as a community.
National President, Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union
National Secretary, Australian Workers Union