Xstrata said it was forced to lock down the mine and stop production in response to continued strike action by the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union.
“The CFMEU’s decision to continue to take strike action at the Tahmoor mine during negotiations for a new enterprise agreement is not in the long-term interests of our employees or the viability of the operation,” Xstrata Coal general manager of western and southern operations Dan Clifford said.
Xstrata said its proposed EA offered an average 25% increase to the base salary over the next four years and, together with other changes, would increase total packages by 37% from an average of $A92,500 per annum to $127,000 by 2014, excluding non-rostered overtime.
The company said the EA met legislative requirements and gave increased earnings with the same level of flexibility provided by the new Black Coal Mining Industry Award 2010.
Negotiations between Xstrata and the union have been conducted over the past 15 months with more than 50 meetings.
Xstrata said over that time CFMEU had taken more than 320 hours of direct industrial action and implemented 850 hours of workplace bans.
“Today’s fair and measured response from Tahmoor Coal to the CFMEU’s continuing campaign of strikes and workplace stoppages is in accordance with Fair Work Australia legislation,” Clifford said.
“The company is pursuing changes in the proposed EA which would align Tahmoor with enterprise agreements widely accepted through the coal industry and the Illawarra region.”
A CFMEU spokesperson previously told International Longwall News that Tahmoor’s workers wanted a rollover of their existing agreement with pay rises.