No Joy for locked out workers

Staff Reporter

Union leaders supporting 70 workers locked out of the Joy Mining Machinery facility in Moss Vale have been handed subpoenas claiming personal damages of up to $700,000. Joy is believed to have issued 250 subpoenas against individual union leaders and members. Bemused union officials suggested the action smacked of intimidation and implied the American multinational did not understand the right to strike.

Joy Mining is part of mining company Harnischfeger Industries in the United States, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The lockout notices expire on July 12, but the union believed the company could issue another notice.

The impact on local longwall operations has been minimal with major work, such as rebuilds, being redirected to other facilities. The availability of spare parts is believed to be the main impact of the strike at this stage. Having survived for ten weeks without the Moss Vale maintenance facility, one question that springs to mind is, is it worth keeping the newly opened facility open?

Workers from three unions have been locked out of the factory after pay talks collapsed ten weeks ago. In an attempt to improve low productivity and high costs Joy attempted to secure four separate agreements instead of negotiating collective agreements.

Meanwhile, Joy Australia is believed to have examined splitting into two groups to deal with development and longwall work separately. This appears unlikely as the global strategy of Joy is to keep the two areas under one banner.

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