Published: 28 Nov 2016
This week local Appin contractors will protest the ongoing wage cuts by ruthless labour hire company Mastermyne who will once again attempt to undercut workers’ pay in the South West region, adding to the tally of cuts of around 40 percent in the last two years.
CFMEU Mining & Energy Division South West District Vice-President, Bob Timbs said the union is calling on mine operator South 32 to fulfil its duty of corporate responsibility and negotiate a fair deal for local contract mine workers.
“The last two years have seen local contract mine workers wages cut by some 40 percent. These are local workers, with families, who have taken the brunt of the sector downturn,” said Mr Timbs.
“Contract workers are already disadvantaged: they have no job security, no certainty into the future and no loyalty from their employers. There is no way a contract worker can plan for their future or stand up for their rights and conditions at work, for fear of losing their jobs.
“With a coal price surge of about 200 percent, taking coal prices from 80-90 US dollars a tonne, to up to 300 US dollars a tonne, there is no excuse for slashing the wages of workers.
“There is simply no justification for this injustice. Contractors already carry the burden of uncertainty at a disproportionate level, some mine contractors employeed at South 32 mines have been classified as casuals for up to seven years – with no job security and ownership over their futures.
“After two years of wage cuts, Mastermyne is celebrating their newest $50 million project with South 32 by undercutting workers and offering even further wage cuts. There is nothing to celebrate if you are a local worker with no other opportunities and a family to look after.
“South 32 – the operator of the biggest underground mine in the Southern Hemisphere – has a responsibility to local workers. With one hand they celebrate their recent financial success with new acquisitions upwards of $200 million and with the other they try to pass the buck of this problem to the labour hire company.
“South 32 cannot continue to pretend workers’ conditions have nothing to do with them – they have everything to do with them.
“Mining giants have a social responsibility to the communities they operate in – a social responsibility to the workers, their families and their communities, and it’s time they own up and negotiate a fair deal for contract mine workers.
“Mastermyne has a history of negotiating wages down and undercutting other labour hire firms to win projects at the expense of workers.
“The CFMEU is calling on South 32 to come to the table and negotiate with the union and workers to improve conditions for local contractors,” said Mr Timbs.
Local contract workers intend on protesting their current agreement with Mastermyne and their current arrangement with South 32 in Appin this Thursday, 1 December.