PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Diversified miner South32 is facing industrial action at its Appin coal mine, at the Illawarra metallurgical coal operations, in New South Wales.
The Mining and Energy Union (MEU) has notified the company of employee’s intention to take half-shift stoppages across all shifts at the mine and coal preparation plant, starting on August 24 and ending August 31.
The protected industrial action relates to an enterprise agreement, with MEU South Western District VP Bob Timbs saying that Appin miners were using the rights available to them under the Fair Work Act to secure a better deal on pay and conditions in a context of record high coal prices and growing cost of living pressures.
“Coal miners at Appin and across the industry have worked through many years of downturn and pressure on the coal companies - accepting wage freezes and minimal advancement on pay and conditions.
“Now that coal prices and profits are booming and inflation is rising, workers are seeking to have these changed circumstances reflected in their new Enterprise Agreement.
“We support our members’ efforts to secure an improved agreement and we will continue working through issues with South32 including pay increases, shifts and leave until we can secure a deal that addresses members’ concerns.”
The Appin Colliery & West Cliff CPP Enterprise Agreement covers nearly 500 production and engineering employees at Appin mine.
A spokesperson for South32 told Mining Weekly Online that the company was currently engaged in enterprise bargaining with employees and their representatives in relation to a proposed new Appin Enterprise Agreement.
"It is disappointing that some of our people have chosen this course of action, especially given we have made a strong offer. We have taken a positive approach throughout the negotiation process, with the aim of reaching a new agreement that helps our operation to remain safe, reliable and sustainable through the commodity price cycle," the spokesperson said.
South32 has offered eligible members of the workforce a salary increase of 5% in the first year, 4% in the second year and 3% in the following two years with the increases in years two, three and four to rise up to 5% should the consumer price index ultimately exceed these levels. In addition, South32 has also offered a sign-on payment, payable in year one, that would further increase total remuneration.