Standover tactics used as Glencore moves to replace Oaky North miners with contractors

Published: 23 Jul 2017

Oaky North miners have been locked out of their workplace by Multinational mining giant Glencore which has taken steps to replace the permanent workforce with casual contractors.

As workers ended their legally protected industrial action following a 99% “No” vote on Glencore’s proposed workplace agreement, they attempted to return to work only to be met by company guards at the gate and refused entry to their own workplace.

The proposed agreement would have stripped workers of several key legal entitlements and CFMEU Queensland District Vice President Chris Brodsky said workers were being punished and intimidated in their community for taking a stand.

“We believe Glencore’s end game is to replace the permanent workforce with casual contractors ahead of their plans to shut the mine as a strategy for minimising their financial responsibilities to workers,” said Mr Brodsky.

“This is a real David and Goliath battle at the moment. Glencore has had the local government come and remove the picket line.

“We’ve had workers and their families followed by security guards in their home town Tieri and other intimidating behaviour. Our guys don’t scare easily, but they are concerned for their families.

“At the end of the day, we’re a tiny little mining town in the middle of nowhere and Glencore is a huge international corporation. The odds are stacked against us but we’ll fight the good fight all the way. The 99% No vote shows how united this community is.”

The deal Glencore is proposing would remove workers’ basic rights from their Agreement including:
•    Access to workplace representation in some cases
•    Allowing the company to unilaterally change rosters against the wishes of employees
•    Increase the cost of company’s accommodation for workers
•    Limiting the ability of employees to have some matters determined by arbitration

The union has offered a 2 year roll over of the existing agreement with a 0% pay increase.

Media contact: Tim O’Halloran 0409 059 617