Labour hire pay gulf

LABOUR hire mine workers are often getting nearly half the pay of their full time mining company-employed colleagues for the same jobs across the coal industries in New South Wales and Queensland.
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Blair Price

Using BHP Billiton’s Mt Arthur open cut coal mine in the Upper Hunter Valley as a reference point, the Newcastle Herald reported that full time employed miners at big open cut operations were typically earning $150,000 per annum while contractors usually earned about $80,000pa for the same work.

The disparity reportedly worsened after Tesa Mining lost the labour hire company contract for Mt Arthur to Chandler Macleod.

“The Herald has seen various Mount Arthur pay slips showing Tesa was paying a flat rate of $46.50 an hour, or $84,630 a year, for the industry standard 35-hour week,” the newspaper reported.

“Mount Arthur workers said Chandler Macleod cut their pay rate to $40 an hour, or $72,800, before the union stepped in and pushed the rate to $43 an hour, or $78,260.”

The Queensland branch of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union indicated there was a similar situation in Queensland’s coal industry.

However, CFMEU mining and energy division Queensland district president Stephen Smyth said the big issue was that labour hire company workers missed out on entitlements as well.

He told ICN some were on a flat rate of $43 an hour with no other entitlements, including no overtime penalty rates, while some companies were “paying less”.

Smyth was of the view that Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek coal mine and the Glencore-operated Clermont coal mine were leading the state in terms of lower-paid labour hire workers who were doing lots of hours without overtime pay.

Glencore does not provide any breakdown of costs for its individual mines.

“We are, however, continuing to focus on costs and efficiencies at all of our sites in the current challenging market,” a spokesman said in relation to questions over how Clermont (bought off Rio in October 2013) was performing in 2015.