Union takes on Thiess over Burton cuts

THE miners union and contractor Thiess are at loggerheads over planned redundancies at the Burton Downs coal mine in Queensland.
Union takes on Thiess over Burton cuts Union takes on Thiess over Burton cuts Union takes on Thiess over Burton cuts Union takes on Thiess over Burton cuts Union takes on Thiess over Burton cuts

Burton: Image courtesy of Peabody Pacific

Angie Tomlinson

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union Queensland district secretary Jim Valery said Thiess planned to retrench 27 operators and four tradespeople from the mine, on top of the four operators who have already taken voluntary redundancies.

A Thiess spokesperson told International Longwall News the “adjustment to the workforce” was still to be finalised, but the company was endeavouring to keep redundancies to a minimum.

Last week the CFMEU went to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission over the redundancies stating Thiess had gone outside provisions in the Union Collective Agreement’s retrenchment clause.

Valery said negotiations after the first day of the hearing broke down after Thiess allegedly refused to provide some information.

The CFMEU returned to the AIRC for it to arbitrate the dispute, but Thiess objected to the commissioner hearing the case, Valery said.

He said the CFMEU hoped workers would be transferred to other Thiess operations.

“I would like to think a company who enjoyed the unseen profits experienced by companies involved in mining in the last few years may look at looking after the workers and families who have provided the toil for this wealth, many of who uprooted their families to assist a company caught in a skill shortage,” Valery told ILN.

The case is ongoing with both parties to make submissions to AIRC.

Thiess has been a contractor at Peabody Energy’s Burton terrace-mining truck and shovel operation since 1996.

The mine produces close to 4.3 million tonnes per annum and employs about 500 people.