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Issue #1764      February 8, 2017

Mine lock-out

The CFMEU Mining and Energy Division last week wrote to Queensland Premier Palaszczuk and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Anthony Lynham seeking government intervention as local Central Queensland coal workers are again locked out of jobs. BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance is seeking to fill vacancies at its Peak Downs and Saraji mines with labour hire fly-in-fly-out workers from Townsville.

Mitch Hughes, CFMEU Queensland District vice-president, said it is disgraceful that mining companies continue to make local Central Queensland workers redundant to replace their positions with insecure, labour hire FIFO workers with less wages, less entitlements and inferior conditions.

“Local workers deserve to be given priority for secure, steady jobs; jobs they can rely on to provide for their families and support their local communities. Regional coal mining communities in Central Queensland continue to be hard hit by retrenchments, with German Creek the latest example with 80 workers made redundant only last month,” said Hughes.

Despite the government’s move to prevent 100 percent FIFO in coal mines, BHP’s two newest mines in Moranbah, Daunia and Caval Ridge are already 100 percent FIFO, with local Central Queensland residents barred from permanent employment. Government must intervene to stop this.

The union says that while mining industry peak body Queensland Resources Council said there is a lack of skilled workers in the region – this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are hundreds of retrenched coal miners in the nearby coal communities of Moranbah and Dysart and hundreds more throughout Central Queensland mining towns.

“Our union is more than happy to assist BHP with a list of local workers able and willing to take on secure jobs at its mines,” said Hughes.

“These positions should put locals first. If all positions then cannot be filled by locals, only then should they be offered to FIFO workers, at the same wages, benefits and entitlements as permanent positions.

“Big mining companies need to stop attacking workers’ job security; if they want a social license to operate the first step is to provide the community with secure, local jobs.

“While filling mining jobs with outside labour hire and refusing locals work in their regions is allowed, our Central Queensland communities and local economies will continue to suffer.

“The state government has a responsibility to ensure Central Queensland communities benefit fairly from the region’s resources, and make sure mining companies treat those communities fairly,” said Hughes.

Next article – One Day in Fremantle

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