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Workers being forced to remove CFMEU clothes: union

Unionists rally outside Glencore's Brisbane headquarters calling for a resolution of ongoing Oaky North negotiations.
Unionists rally outside Glencore's Brisbane headquarters calling for a resolution of ongoing Oaky North negotiations. Geoff Egan

OAKY North miners have told a Brisbane protest they are being told to take off any union branded clothing before they can work.

The CFMEU blocked off a busy intersection in central Brisbane on Wednesday morning demanding Glencore agree to continue a five-year-old enterprise agreement without change.

But the mining company has dubbed the protest a "stunt" and said the union's actions had cost workers more than $1 million in lost wages.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland district vice president Chris Brodsky said the workers at the mine near Tieri did not want more money but were fighting to protect their union rights.

"This isn't about greedy f*cking miners wanting more money," he said.

"This is about keeping what we've already got, about not going backwards. We were happy to roll the agreement on, but Glencore have refused that."

 

Speakers at the rally said they would keep the picket going "until Christmas" if they need to. They chanted that Glencore were "grubs" and "thugs in suits".

Mr Brodsky told the rally Glencore was forcing workers not on strike to remove any CFMEU-branded clothing.

He said the company had told workers union branded clothing was connected to the picket and therefore "intimidating" to employees who crossed the picket line.

But a Glencore spokesman called the CFMEU protest a "stunt" and said the union was letting down its members.

"Rather than participate in a constructive negotiation for a new enterprise agreement at Oaky North, the CFMEU has continued an ongoing campaign of strikes, workplace bans, aggressive behaviour and false claims, which has cost its Oaky North members more than $1 million in lost wages," he said.

"It's a shame that the CFMEU seems intent on putting its campaign ahead of its members' best interests. We continue to operate the mine safely and productively."

But Mr Brodsky said Glencore has previously advocated for a "modern, flexible" agreement but had not explained what that would entail.

"We just want what all Australians want - secure permanent jobs so we can provide for our families," he said.

Controversial union boss Michael Ravbar told the rally major mining companies wanted to move workers out of Tieri and replace them with contractors.

"This is what big mining companies do. It's all about greed, it's about screwing small towns," he said.

- NewsRegional

Topics:  cfmeu coal glencore mining oaky north picket tieri union

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