Strike at Oaky North enters week six

Published: 15 Jun 2017

Miners from the Oaky North coal mine west of Rockhampton have taken up an unusual form of protest, providing community services in the small town of Tieri, close to the mine.

As Oaky North miners entered their sixth week of industrial action and Glencore continues to refuse providing workers’ basic rights in a new workplace agreement, the miners say they decided to use the protest to help improve local community infrastructure and support community groups.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland District President Chris Brodsky said the deal Glencore is proposing would remove workers’ access to workplace representation in some cases, among a range of other issues, but he said the last thing hard working miners wanted to do was sit still.

“These guys love their community and they love their job, so after the company locked them out of their own workplace, despite the fact their industrial action is protected under the Fair Work Act, they decided to give time to their community,” Mr Brodsky said.

“They’ve been helping out at local schools and the rugby league club, shovelling sand and chip-bark into community gardens, cleaning up the Girls Guides hut and have presented local schools with football and rugby guernseys.”

Mr Brodsky said workers would not be intimidated and would fight for decent conditions, and Glencore only served to damage its standing in the local community by standing over local workers. The proposed workplace agreement being put forward by Glencore would:

  • Limit workers’ access to workplace representation
  • Allow them to unilaterally change rosters against the wishes of employees
  • Pay workers based on profit, not hours and work
  • Increase the cost of company’s accommodation for workers
  • Limit the ability of employees to have some matters determined by arbitration

“Workers are not asking for anything more than they are entitled to and with coal prices on the rise, Glencore has no excuse whatsoever for trying to strip workers of their basic right,” said Mr Brodsky.

Media contact: Tim O’Halloran 0409 059 617