Federal Court sides with employers to cut mine workers redundancy pay
Summary: This morning the Federal Court gave the final green-light for the slashing of redundancy entitlements in the award that covers mine workers.....
The cuts mean that redundancy pay will now be capped at 15 years of service, which the Collieries’ Staff and Officials Association (CSOA) say is a blow to local miners and their families.
The changes to the redundancy cap have been strongly contested by the CSOA, along with the Mining and Energy Division of the CFMEU and the AMWU, though with no prevail.
The court action was run by the employer front group Coal Mining Industry Employer Group (CMIEG) which includes local mining companies Glencore Coal, Peabody Energy Australia and Yancoal Australia.
The cuts come after months of discontent from local miners, including Glencore employees’ who have been involved in three work stoppages over the past 12 weeks. Local industry workers have been rallying for permanent job security, fair terms and conditions for contractors and fair redundancy pay.
CSOA President Paul Meehan said the cuts are a devastating blow to hard-working, loyal workers.
“Mine employees are seeing their most important conditions being ripped away by some of Australia’s most profitable companies,” Mr. Meehan said.
During the mining down-turn, workers saw redundancies on the rise across the sector and the unions are concerned that when permanent workers retire or leave the industry they are now being replaced by contractors who have limited access to redundancy. Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Secretary, Sally McManus said the union will continue to support workers on the issue.
“The entire union movement stands beside the members of the Collieries' Staff and Officials Association who are seeing their hard-fought-for conditions cut,” she said.
“The power of big business is the reason that the Coal Mining Industry Employer Group (CMIEG) is allowed to get away with cutting conditions like redundancy payments.”
The CSOA added that the cuts come at a time when mine workers need redundancy pay the most.
“The system is broken when the peak body for coal miners like BHP, Glencore and Yancoal can make working people’s lives worse when wages are stagnant, underemployment is rife and unemployment in regional areas is a serious issue.”