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Issue #1799      October 18, 2017

Exploitation Updates

Reports of abusive conduct on the picket line outside Glencore Oaky North mine, where hundreds of Australian miners have been locked out of work, are being used as a distraction from the real battle to save Aussie jobs. October 11 marked Day 100 on the picket line outside the mine because its foreign owner Glencore – which pays no Australian taxes - refuses to return to the negotiating table with its local workers. The CFMEU has issued guidelines to those protesting on the picket line and does not condone offensive behaviour. Stephen Smyth, District president for the CFMEU Mining and Energy Division Queensland, said legitimate allegations of abuse should be taken to the police, not the media. “Almost 200 Australian families have been hung out to dry by the mine’s foreign owners as the miners – many of them primary bread-winners - enter day 100 of the dispute,” Mr Smyth said. The CFMEU claims the foreign multi-national company is moving to replace its permanent workforce at the Central Queensland mine with casual contractors. The majority of workers recently voted against an enterprise agreement which they say will erode their rights and conditions around workplace representation, dispute procedures and severance and retrenchment. Glencore’s revenue from Australian coal operations jumped from US$1.77 billion to US$3.1 billion in the last half year. Their cash profit on every tonne of coal produced was around 41 per cent. The CFMEU says the company is trying to strip back hard fought for and won work conditions which can impact on safety and lives.

The ACTU has condemned the decision of the Turnbull government to back cuts to penalty rates, after the Federal Court turned down attempts to protect the pay of low-paid workers. The decision confirms the rules are broken for working people. 700,000 people in retail, pharmacy and hospitality will suffer a government-backed wage cut, while wage growth is at record lows, and 40 percent of people are in insecure work. The Turnbull government’s support for cutting penalty rates, backed by big business, is already having an impact on people who can least afford it, while the government continues to push tax cuts for big businesses. The government sided with corporations and against working people when it voted down an attempt to reverse the cuts, and today’s decision comes as yet another blow to families who don’t deserve and can’t afford a pay cut. The government’s wage cuts are already spreading to other sectors, as workers in the hairdressing industry are being forced to defend their weekend and public holiday penalty rates.

Next article – Dingo

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