Union seeks negotiation at Tahmoor

THE Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union will be waiting today for a response from Xstrata Coal over enterprise agreement negotiations after workers at Tahmoor Colliery in NSW attempted to stop picketing yesterday.
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The picket line at Tahmoor. Image courtesy of CFMEU.

Lou Caruana

The union claims workers attempted to stop picketing and head back into the mine yesterday morning for a single day’s work, but were blocked by Xstrata management which demanded that all industrial action must cease in order for negotiations to take place.

Tahmoor workers representatives wrote to Xstrata management, agreeing to those terms stating that all industrial action which first began on July 13 would stop, starting from the end of the afternoon shift on Thursday.

CFMEU district vice-president Bob Timbs said workers were willing to compromise in order to end the 10-day stand-off which is hurting the entire Tahmoor community.

“We’re still not entirely happy with Xstrata’s demands, but in the interests of putting a stop to this painful dispute we are giving them exactly what they asked for – we’re putting an end to the industrial action,” he said.

“We just need to get to them to the negotiation table. Once we’re there, I’m hopeful that Xstrata will see the justice of our claims, but we need to get there first and this should achieve that aim.

“We did ask for a response today [Tuesday], but we haven’t heard back.

“I’m hopeful we’ll get an answer tomorrow [Wednesday] – after all, we’ve given them exactly what they were demanding.”

Xstrata staff – not affiliated to workers on the picket line for their tenth day of the strike – was running the longwall at Tahmoor.

Attempts by ILN to contact Xstrata this morning were unsuccessful.

According to a report in the Illawarra Mercury Xstrata Coal claimed the company had not been given enough notice before industrial action was called off, as required under the federal government's Fair Work Act.