PWCS spokesman Paul Chamberlain told ILN that Fair Work Australia approved the vote on industrial action at PWCS if it was conducted no later than May 7.
“It’s true this issue is around,” Chamberlain confirmed.
“We’ll see what it amounts to.”
PWCS employees would be able to strike within three days of an affirmative vote for industrial action.
PWCS is one of the largest shipment facilities on Australia’s east coast and the two ports are expected to ship 110 million tonnes of thermal and coking coal exports this year to customers, mostly in Asia.
"We were notified earlier in the month that unions had made applications to Fair Work Australia for protected action ballots.
“Orders granting the ballots have since been made, with voting in those ballots to close no later than May 7," Chamberlain told Platts yesterday.
Chamberlain said PWCS had been in talks with the unions since July 2012 because the two parties were yet to agree to terms of a new workplace agreement to replace one that expired last October.
“We have put forward some very attractive conditions with significant benefits but the unions have rejected these,” Chamberlain told ILN.
“It is obviously disappointing but they have a right to do so and we will continue to work with both them and Fair Work Australia.
“We’re not leaving the table.”