Coppabella employees' attempts to bypass union hit snag

CONSTRUCTION Forestry Mining and Energy union president Tony Maher has blasted attempts by 12 non-unionised members of Peabody Energy’s Coppabella coal mine workforce who tried to circumvent the union and make an enterprise agreement claim directly to the Fair Work Commission.
Coppabella employees' attempts to bypass union hit snag Coppabella employees' attempts to bypass union hit snag Coppabella employees' attempts to bypass union hit snag Coppabella employees' attempts to bypass union hit snag Coppabella employees' attempts to bypass union hit snag

Courtesy CFMEU

Lou Caruana

After “passing the hat around” the 12 raised $2000, which was enough to only get legal representation at a mention of their claim and to get a quote for running the case to arbitration, Maher said.

“At this point, they got mugged by reality – the quote for the case provided by Mackay lawyers Macrossan and Amiet priced the arbitration at between $18,000 and $23,000 for a one-day hearing and between $30,000 and $40,000 for a three-day hearing,” Maher said.

“We know because the Coppabella ‘non-union, unionists’, when confronted with this cost sought to pass the hat around the union members at the mine giving them a copy of the lawyers’ letter with the quoted costs!

“Not surprisingly, our CFMEU members at the mine told these characters where to get off.”

The CFMEU is already pursuing the same claim in the Fair Work Commission with Queensland District Legal Officer Chris Newman, Maher said.

“This is costing Coppabella union members nothing more than their (tax deductible) union dues,” he said.

“In fact, we never charge members for legal representation in industrial cases, no matter how expensive or lengthy. That is how the union operates – we invest in cases representing members to ensure that conditions for all workers are preserved.”

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