Appin management positioning to sack unionist who stood up for workplace entitlements

Published: 11 Apr 2017

Today the CFMEU called on the senior leadership team at South 32 to intervene in a gross over-reaction by management at its Illawarra Coal Appin mine from sacking District Lodge President, Dave McLachlan, (pictured) following a workplace meeting protesting the company’s refusal to provide replacement work clothes and laundry service, their legal obligation under the registered agreement.

CFMEU NSW South West Vice-President, Bob Timbs, said that the Lodge President has been stood down for three weeks, and the company has launched a process of singling him out for standing up for his rights at work, following a 10-minute stop work meeting where day shift mineworkers at Appin Colliery protested against the company’s refusal to comply with their legal obligation to provide replacement work clothes and a laundry service to maintain them.

“Since workers held their meeting, Lodge President Dave McLachlan has been stood down and since given a ‘notice to show cause’ highlighting that the company has made up its mind to terminate him. Dave has an impeccable workplace record and has been instrumental in helping maintain one of the most productive and settled workforces in the NSW coal industry,” said Mr Timbs.

“The time and resources spent by the company in pursuit of revenge to a 10-minute delay simply doesn’t make sense.

“It’s absurd. The company is legally bound under its registered agreement to provide fresh work clothes and an industrial laundry service to workers and the fact it hasn’t shows utter contempt for its employees at Appin. And now, they are singling Dave out to make a point.

“Dave was doing no more than standing up for his members at Appin and if South 32 want to hold anyone to account for what happened then it should have its Illawarra Coal management on the mat to face the music.

“Dave’s role as Lodge President is one of the reasons why this colliery has a proud industrial record,” said Mr Timbs.

CFMEU National President, Tony Maher said that “instead of taking the point and honouring their legal obligations under the registered agreement, Illawarra Coal management have singled out a worker with an umblemished record.

“He is a family man with two kids and a grandchild. As Lodge President, Dave has represented members at Appin with distinction for the past ten years so much so that the mine has not lost an hour in industrial action for years at Appin.

“To single out, punish and threaten the livelihood of a model worker for leading a short protest against the company’s refusal to meet its legal obligation is a preposterous over-reaction. If Appin management don’t pull their heads in and get real then the executive leadership and South 32 should step in to end this attack.

“If it wasn’t so serious it would be a farce. As the owner of the Appin mine South 32 leadership should pull its Illawarra Coal management into line and drop this ridiculous and vindictive attempt to punish a good worker. Failure to do so will set a new low in industrial relations in the Illawarra’s coal industry and nobody wants or needs that,” said Mr Maher.