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Issue #1755      November 2, 2016

Armed guards and intimidation tactics

Mineworkers and their families are increasingly concerned Anglo American will employ armed security guards to intimidate workers undertaking protected industrial action at the German Creek mine in Middlemount, central Queensland.

The CFMEU Mining and Energy Division has confirmed it has written to Anglo American’s CEO, Mark Cutifani asking for assurances that proposed security guards employed by the company would not be armed, and would not follow or harass workers and their families. The CEO has refused to assure these measures will not be taken.

CFMEU Mining and Energy District president, Stephen Smyth said given Anglo’s history on similar cases they believe this is part of an ongoing strategy by Anglo to intimidate the union, its members and their families during the hostile industrial process that is entering its third year.

“Only last month we were told 83 workers will be made forcibly redundant by the company. Workers and their families are alarmed at the series of attacks where Anglo is trying to pick off workers who are standing up for their rights and conditions,” said Smyth.

“In our letter to Mr Cutifani we only asked for an assurance these drastic tactics weren’t going to be used – he refused to do that. Now we have a case where our members and their families believe the company plans on harassing them to get an industrial outcome.

“This is a shameful case where a mining giant is trying to heavy the community to get what they want, and it’s unacceptable.”

He said that companies should not be able to use the industrial system aimed at protecting workers against them, to maximise their profits and that for almost three years and 17 different meetings the German Creek workers have tried to bargain in good faith, only for the process to be drawn out by a company that wants to cut corners, costs and jobs.

“These workers have the right to bargain, and the right to call for job security and safe workplace conditions – these are the problems workers want to resolve while Anglo tries to pressure them with intimidation while threatening their jobs.

“We call on Anglo to immediately stop their tactics of intimidation of CFMEU members and their families, and return to negotiations to bargain in good faith and put an end to this ordeal,” said Smyth.

Next article – Necessity and progress

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