Peabody responds to union pressure

PEABODY Energy Australia has defended its shutdown of North Goonyella in the Bowen Basin as a safety measure after union members planned to go on a week-long strike at the mine.

Blair Price

The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union gave notice to Peabody it was planning to take 160 hours of protected industrial action at the mine from December 12 to December 19.

Peabody is dismayed the union is blaming the company for putting workers out of pocket just before Christmas when it was already planning to go on a week-long stoppage.

A Peabody spokesperson told ILN a week out of North Goonyella was a long time and the company had secured the underground mine to ensure the safety of its employees.

“We only secured it to the end of their protected action which is going to finish 7am December 19,” she said.

On this date Peabody is hoping the mine will return to business as usual.

The spokesperson said the company would meet with union representatives on Monday to continue negotiations for the new enterprise bargaining agreement.

She said North Goonyella was on the higher end of the cost curve with wages already well above industry averages.

Peabody aimed to negotiate a modern agreement that was aligned to many other CFMEU agreements with major coal producers in the area.

Coal shipments during the week-long shutdown at North Goonyella will continue normally as coal can be loaded from the available stockpile.

Two-hour rolling stoppages were in place at the operation prior to the shutdown, with the industrial action going back five weeks.

This morning the union arranged a protest outside Peabody’s Brisbane office, with 10 North Goonyella workers participating with other affiliated union members.