Dawson miners down tools

MINERS at the Dawson opencut coal mine (formerly Moura mine) in Queensland held a 24-hour work stoppage yesterday after an enterprise bargaining dispute between mine owner Anglo Coal and the miners’ unions.

Staff Reporter

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union official Danny Dougherty told International Longwall News today that there had been a major breakdown in negotiations with the coal company.

“Anglo Coal has basically walked away from the negotiating table so it could potentially be a very long, drawn out dispute,” Dougherty said.

But Anglo Coal said yesterday that the offer given to the Dawson workforce was competitive and addressed a number of outstanding matters.

“Anglo Coal Australia Dawson mine employees and management are continuing to work together to resolve outstanding enterprise bargaining matters at Anglo Coal Australia,” a spokesperson said.

Dougherty said workers are concerned about health and safety clauses in the agreement, the disciplinary and disputes procedures and the company's hard line on monthly pays and its refusal to agree to an award wage.

“The union has gone back to the company with a number of alternatives and the company has basically snubbed their noses at a lot of the basic things like health and safety, roster changes and fatigue management,” he said.

“There is more industrial action this week, and that will continue until the company comes back to the negotiating table.”

AMWU organiser Terry Grieve said the AMWU members at Dawson have “had a gutful” since October last year when Anglo Coal threw out the old agreement and put a new one on the table before consulting with the workers.

“They said this is the template. This is what we’re working from. And it’s been downhill from there. They’ve taken a very hard line and refuse to negotiate with us,” Grieve said.

Dawson produces in excess of 7 million tonnes of coking, soft coking and thermal coal annually using opencut and highwall mining methods.