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Issue #1798      October 11, 2017

Wash plant workers reject eroded rights

Three quarters of the workforce at the coal wash plant attached to the Glencore Oaky North mine last week voted against an enterprise agreement put by the company which would erode their rights and conditions.

There are 45 workers at the plant. The vote comes amid the ongoing dispute over a workplace agreement between 190 miners at the Glencore Oaky North mine, which has been running for around six months and remains unresolved.

The wash plant workers rejected Glencore’s proposed agreement which eroded their rights and conditions around workplace representation, dispute procedures, and severance and retrenchment.

Chris Brodsky, District vice president for the CFMEU Mining and Energy Division, said both workforces at Oaky North were standing strong in the face of extremely hard line industrial tactics by Glencore.

“Glencore has locked out miners at Oaky North for over 90 days this year, they have taken court action to try and stop legal pickets, and they are trying to intimidate, control and silence their workers with extreme and ludicrous company policies on what people can wear and say.

“They are incredibly sensitive to any negative publicity so much so that they even took a giant inflatable rat to court. [The rat was a symbol of the company’s scabby behaviour.]

“But most ominously, their end game seems to be to replace the workforce with contractors – which would be a dire outcome for the local community of Tieri.

“In the wake of very healthy profits from their Australian coal operations this year, you would think Glencore would be sitting down and negotiating in good faith with the workforce.

“All we have seen from Glencore is contempt for the workers who line their shareholders’ pockets.”

Glencore’s revenue from Australian coal operations jumped from US$1.77 billion to US$3.1 billion in the last half year. Their cash profit on every tonne of coal produced was around 41 percent.

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