Mining giant locks own workers out of mine

MINING giant Glencore has had enough of the pickets and chanting outside its Oaky North underground mine and has locked its workers out.

Protesting had been going on at the mine for week, which the company believed had cost it 6400 man hours already and is why on Friday they locked their workers out.

The company has said the mine will continue operating "using trained and competent personnel".

"The ongoing stoppages have created uncertainty around our workforce and the action is impacting their families," a statement from Glencore read.

"We remain available for meaningful discussions with the CFMEU in pursuit of a modern, flexible Enterprise Agreement at Oaky North that is not only consistent with agreements accepted by the CFMEU at other mining operations but also maintains wage levels that are currently around $100,000 higher than the average annual Australian wage."

While the union behind the protests, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union say it's protected legal action against the removal of worker's access to workplace representation.

Something Glencore refutes in documents circulated to workers by saying that the right to representation is enshrined in the Fair Work Act.

 

An information sheet for workers from Glencore about the strikes.
An information sheet for workers from Glencore about the strikes. Annonymous

Chris Brodsky, Queensland District Vice President of CFMEU Mining and Energy division said workers would not be intimidated and the fight for decent conditions would continue.

"This threatening behaviour from Glencore is unacceptable. Workers should not feel threatened for simply exercising their right to protest.

"This is just another example of how Glencore treats its workforce.

"Workers are not asking for anything more than they are entitled to and with coal prices on the rise, Glencore has no excuse whatsoever for trying to strip workers of their basic right."

But one anonymous source, claiming to be a miner, told The Daily Mercury the current strike "by the Oaky North Union guys is an absolute joke".

"The coal seam is half as thick as it was during the last enterprise bargaining agreement, costs are increasing as the mine gets deeper, yet these union guys still want more and more, expecting a company to keep them in jobs regardless of if they are making a profit or loss."

The person then went on to attack the protest itself.

"The location of the picket line is also a complete joke, and is an accident waiting to happen," they wrote.

"Standing on the shoulder of the main highway near a junction that goes from 100kmhr to 80kmhr , doing whatever they can to distract drivers by waving banners, sounding horns and whistles.

"Seriously, if they don't like the company they work for as much as they say, and complain about it in the news, and the pay and other benefits are so poor, then why work there?

"No one is forcing them to stay."

If you've got a comment, or a tip about this story, you can contact the reporter at email campbell.gellie@dailymercury.com.au.



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