Port Kembla Copper: industrial dispute flares
An industrial dispute has erupted at Port Kembla Copper on the South Coast of NSW after a worker on nightshift was splashed with hot wax and received second degree burns to his legs. The man was one of two workers injured at the plant. The other was splashed with acidic electrolytes. These two incidents have sparked an industrial dispute safety at the plant. Workers are angry and would like to know why safety showers and emergency eye baths failed when other colleagues tried to treat the injured workers. NSW WorkCover is investigating the incidents and has issued safety management orders to the plant's owners. These latest safety concerns follow an 18-month struggle for a new agreement over wages and conditions. The new agreement, which awarded an eight percent pay increase over two years, was only finalised days ago. Australian Workers Union Port Kembla Branch official Phil Reid said the union's 145 members were pleased with the new deal won by collective bargaining. "It's a substantial improvement on what it was, there's still a way to go but we will get there steadily", Mr Reid said. Staff will also get an extra public holiday off each year and a new classification structure enabling workers to move up the pay scale more rapidly. Mr Reid said during maintenance shutdowns staff would now get the opportunity to earn more.