More twists to Collinsville dispute

A UNION-led campaign to stop trains from loading at Xstrata’s Collinsville open cut coal mine on the northern tip of Queensland’s Bowen Basin will continue despite a recent Federal Court injunction.
More twists to Collinsville dispute More twists to Collinsville dispute More twists to Collinsville dispute More twists to Collinsville dispute More twists to Collinsville dispute

Collinsville mine, image courtesy of Xstrata Coal.

Blair Price

Two trains were halted from loading coal at the mine in the past few days.

Hundreds of mineworkers and other residents of the town protested the trains as they arrived and Queensland Rail National decided to back them away due to safety concerns.

Previously the strikers and protestors aimed to stay 10m away from the line on each side.

But the Federal Court ruled yesterday that they must stay back 20m either side of the railway line for the entire 83km from the mine to the Abbot Point Coal Terminal.

The three-month court injunction also placed a ban on Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union leaders from encouraging or inciting others to break these orders.

CFMEU district vice-president Steve Pierce told ILN that members would continue to picket the train line but would comply with the requirements of the court injunction.

A train was due to load at the mine at 10am today.

The union will meet with management from mine operator Thiess and representatives of Fair Work Australia to conciliate over the new enterprise agreement which is in dispute.

The strike, in its third week, will cease for 12 hours tomorrow while this conciliation takes place.

If there is no favourable outcome to the talks, the union can restart its campaign and has protected industrial action status for further strikes next week.

An Xstrata spokesman previously told ILN that some individuals put sleepers across the tracks at the mine on Saturday, which could have caused a derailment.

A Queensland police spokesperson confirmed to ILN that several women and men were scheduled to face railway charges in Bowen Magistrates Court later this month over “trespass and related railway offenses” at Collinsville on Saturday.

Last week, Xstrata declared force majeure on shipments of Collinsville thermal coal to domestic customers but there is no FM on shipments to export customer at this stage.

The industrial action comes as both the workforce and company management fail to agree to a new enterprise agreement, with the previous EA expiring 2.5 years ago

The main disagreement is over the inclusion of a job security clause into a new enterprise agreement.

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