An Xstrata spokesperson revealed to ILN it was an IED while the ABC reported that police said it was taped-together fireworks placed on the manager’s ute.
Security guards saw two men placing the device which was reportedly lit but extinguished in time by a security guard.
The media unit of the New South Wales police issued the following statement over the phone yesterday:
“Detectives from Wollongong local area command are investigating after a device was found on a vehicle in Mount Kembla early on Sunday morning,” the police spokesperson said.
“On appraisal police attended the scene after the device was located about 12:35am.
“That device was declared safe and is to be forensically examined. Investigations into the incident are ongoing.”
While police forensically examine the device to determine its nature, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union is not pleased with recent comments made by Xstrata Coal.
“Xstrata has pre-empted the police investigation by drawing conclusions that the incident is in some way connected to the industrial negotiations between the union and management at Tahmoor Colliery,” CFMEU mining and energy division vice-president Wayne McAndrew said.
“Xstrata management should immediately stop using the police investigation for its own industrial purpose.”
The CFMEU said it was subject to a criminal attack last month when its office in Lidcombe was firebombed. A police investigation into this separate incident remains underway.
“We know the only way to deal with these matters is to call for public cooperation and allow the police to properly investigate the matter,” McAndrew said.
“Xstrata should respect the police investigation and stop trying to exploit this incident as an industrial issue.”
The union urges anyone with information on the recent Tahmoor incident to come forward and provide it to the police.
Yesterday Xstrata said its ongoing dispute with the CFMEU at Tahmoor had “escalated to a point where an individual or some individuals believe violence is an acceptable negotiating tactic”
“Acts of violence and threats to the personal safety of our people will not be tolerated and we will pursue every legal option in our response,” Xstrata Coal said.
The longwall mine has been under an industrial relations cloud for the past 18-19 months as there is no progress on forming a new enterprise agreement.
CFMEU district vice-president Bob Timbs told ILN that Xstrata staff – not affiliated to workers on the picket line for their tenth day of the strike – were running the longwall yesterday.
About 80 workers are returning for day shift today and further action is dependent on the outcomes of a bargaining committee meeting to be held today.
“We’ll be providing qualified, experienced labour for Xstrata and in return we’re just asking for Xstrata executives to sit down with us to work this thing out,” Timbs said in a statement yesterday afternoon.
The Australian has revealed the manager at the centre of the “small incendiary device” incident was Nicholls, who has attracted a great deal of criticism at the union-run website Xstratafacts.com.
On why Nicholls had security guards at his property, the newspaper reported that some of Tahmoor’s senior staff had been victims of harassment as tensions grew over industrial relations issues.
The broadsheet described the fireworks device as “not life threatening but could have badly burned the car had it been allowed to go off”
The union also reportedly released a name-and-shame list of contractors who were working during the strike last week.