No deal: PKCT workers fight for job security

Published: 8 Feb 2019

CFMEU members at Port Kembla Coal Terminal have rejected the company’s latest offer in on-going Enterprise Agreement negotiations and vowed to step up their fight for genuine job security.

In response, PKCT’s South 32 management has locked workers out for another week. 

“It’s obvious South 32 is not serious about addressing workers’ reasonable and genuine job security concerns,” said CFMEU Mining and Energy District Vice President Bob Timbs.

“All these workers are asking for is a commitment that their permanent jobs will not be cut and replaced by contractors. We are not seeking any limit on using contractors to meet genuine peaks in demand.

“However, casualisation is out of control in our industry and our region. We won’t accept good, local permanent jobs being cut, only for the same work to be carried out by casual contractors.

“The latest offer from South 32 management falls far short of a genuine commitment. They are taking the mickey.”

Workers were frustrated at the lack of progress in negotiations, said Mr Timbs.

“We’ve had over 100 meetings with management during the course of EA negotiations. We’ve had long stretches with no industrial action. We have compromised on many matters.

“We won’t compromise on protections against permanent jobs being converted to casual labour hire jobs. Management has had plenty of time to talk, now we need a genuine offer.”

About the dispute at PKCT:

  • Negotiations for a new Enterprise Agreement at Port Kembla Coal Terminal began in 2015.
  • Workers have not had a pay rise since 2015.
  • Periodic industrial action began in 2017.
  • Over 100 meetings been workers and management have taken place.
  • Permanent jobs covered by the EA have been cut from 107 to 51 over the course of negoitations.
  • The CFMEU is seeking the following long-standing clause be retained in the EA: “The Company will not terminate the employment of an Employee on the grounds of redundancy to replace the Employee with a contractor in the same position.”
  • PKCT is a consortium of local coal producers: Wollongong Coal, South 32, Peabody Energy, SIMEC mining, Glencore and Centennial. It is managed by South 32 on behalf of the consortium.