23/06/2016 - 15:30

Griffin Coal workers to take action

23/06/2016 - 15:30

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Maintenance workers at Griffin Coal are set to stop work for 24 hours from 5:30am tomorrow in response to a decision by the Fair Work Commission earlier this month to move them onto an industry award wage.

Its been a rocky road for Griffin Coal in recent months.

Maintenance workers at Griffin Coal are set to stop work for 24 hours from 5:30am tomorrow in response to a decision by the Fair Work Commission earlier this month to move them onto an industry award wage.

The action follows 12 months of negotiations between the workers, represented by the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union, and the company, a subsidiary of Lanco Infratech, during which the company tried to wind back years of pay increases.

When the current enterprise agreement expires on July 10, workers will revert to the Black Coal Mining Industry award, according to the commission’s decision.

That would mean lower wages for Griffin workers, a reduction of nearly 43 per cent, according to the union, and loss of entitlements.

It follows a difficult period for the miner as coal prices have dropped significantly, while contractor Carna Group went into administration in March, claiming it was owed money by the coal miner.

AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said despite the commission’s decision, the miner was to blame for poor business practices.

“This foreign-owned, multinational company has run the business into the ground, and after months of protracted negotiations, workers were being asked to accept unprecedented wage cuts; reductions to redundancies, entitlements and allowances, and the abolition of protective clauses that had been hard won by previous generations of Collie miners,” he said.

“Workers recognise the difficult position that the coal mining sector is in, and have worked hard to increase productivity and make sacrifices where possible.

“Workers had also agreed for some entitlements to be reduced, and for wages to be frozen.

“But instead of bargaining in good faith, Griffin Coal elected to kick these workers, their families and the whole Collie community square in the guts.

“The coal mine is the lifeblood of the town, and when you attack workers at the coal mine, you attack the whole Collie community.”

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