Published: 12 Oct 2018
Wollongong Coal is attempting to terminate an enterprise agreement covering mineworkers at its Russell Vale coal mine so it can restart production with a cheaper labour hire workforce instead of employing permanent workers.
CFMEU Mining and Energy District Vice President Bob Timbs said Wollongong Coal had already replaced its permanent workforce at Wongawilli coal mine with casual labour hire workers who are the lowest paid coal mineworkers in the district.
“Wollongong Coal is on a mission to restart the Russell Vale mine using low-paid casual workers rather than a permanent workforce,” said Mr Timbs.
“When Russell Vale went into care and maintenance in 2015, the company promised those workers made redundant through no fault of their own would be the first ones to be re-employed at the mine when production restarted.
“Now they are seeking to tear up their industry-standard enterprise agreement so they can employ labour hire workers on cheaper rates with no job security.
“Wollongong Coal once employed over 500 local permanent workers, making a great contribution to the local economy.
“If they have their way they will be running their mines with no permanent workers at all.
“This is a repeat of what we are seeing across the mining industry with multinational resources companies slashing permanent jobs in favour of casual labour hire.”
The CFMEU is fighting Wollongong Coal’s application to the Fair Work Commission to terminate the current enterprise agreement for Russell Vale, as well as helping low-paid, casual labour hire workers at Wongawilli to secure better working arrangements.
“Casualisation affects everyone in the community,” said Mr Timbs. “The Illawarra needs permanent secure jobs and we are calling on Wollongong Coal to do the right thing and employ permanent workers on industry standard conditions.”