New Hope clings to ghost of WorkChoices to divide workforce

Published: 19 Nov 2018

New Hope’s latest substandard and divisive offer in enterprise agreement negotiations is a slap in the face for workers who have thrown their support behind the company’s expansion bid at the New Acland mine.

Mineworkers from New Acland will join the Change the Rules rally in Brisbane on Tuesday 20 November to protest against New Hope’s unfair treatment.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland Vice President Shane Brunker said workers were deeply concerned about New Hope`s outdated, ideologically-driven employment practices that pay significantly higher rates for workers on individual contracts than the enterprise agreement.

“New Hope announced record profits in September, but is squeezing workers with a substandard agreement offer,” said Mr Brunker.

“The latest offer includes grossly unfair discrepancies, with senior, experienced operators to be paid less than employees on individual contracts. 

“This pay inequality and sub-standard agreement is unjustified, divisive and immoral by New Hope considering its rising profits, production, executive bonuses and shareholder dividends. It’s a model promoted by John Howard’s WorkChoices, which was comprehensively rejected by Australians as unfair.”

New Hope`s latest offer will see a new employee with minimal skills on an individual contract paid more than a ‘Master Operator’, with an exemplary work history and performance reviews, who is on the enterprise agreement. 

Workers are especially disgusted at being used front and centre by New Hope during campaigns to promote their expansion plans – only to be treated as second class citizens when it comes to pay negotiations.

“This is simply about the company positioning themselves to minimise its costs for when the mine expands. Workers fought for the expansion and should benefit from it,” said Mr Brunker.

The impact on workers of New Hope’s proposals at Acland include:

  • Two-tier salaries for employees doing the same job
  • A two-tier system for redundancy and superannuation for new and existing employees
  • No transparency or recourse for employees with ‘Performance recognition payments’
  • Dispute resolution and accident pay provisions that don’t comply with the Award or Fair Work Act.

Mr Brunker said the Union has members on both forms of employment contracts and it is causing a toxic work environment. New Hope`s divisive strategy in the workplace is making workers anxious as they struggle to assess the impact of the offer.

“The Union is left with no alternative but to consult with our membership and pursue all options available under the Fair Work Act to get an acceptable outcome.”

Contact:  Shane Brunker 0419 472 325 /  Jackie Woods 0414 241 483