Fair Work Australia decision won't stop Tahmoor stoppages: union

THE ongoing industrial action at Xstrata’s Tahmoor longwall operation in New South Wales is unlikely to be halted by a Fair Work Australia decision to scrap the existing enterprise agreement, according to a key union official.
Fair Work Australia decision won't stop Tahmoor stoppages: union Fair Work Australia decision won't stop Tahmoor stoppages: union Fair Work Australia decision won't stop Tahmoor stoppages: union Fair Work Australia decision won't stop Tahmoor stoppages: union Fair Work Australia decision won't stop Tahmoor stoppages: union

Tahmoor, courtesy Xstrata Coal.

Blair Price

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union is calling for Xstrata to let Australia’s workplace relations commission arbitrate the EA.

Xstrata isn’t biting, and is waiting for the commission to rule on its application to cancel the EA.

CFMEU district vice-president Bob Timbs suspects a ruling from Fair Work Australia is imminent and will result in the termination of the agreement.

He expects the Tahmoor workforce to consequently go on to the Black Coal Mining Industry Award 2010 while the dispute over a new enterprise agreement with Xstrata continues.

Timbs does not expect Xstrata to be in a better position.

“It seems they are all excited about it, I don’t know what they are going to get out of it,” he told ILN.

“If they start trying to flog us around and sacking blokes and the rest – that’s sort of entering into adverse action, so we think that we might be fairly squeaky clean and they won’t be able to do a great deal to hurt our campaign.”

In the meantime, Xstrata has agreed to conciliate with the union over the EA but this process has happened before with no significant outcome.

The current industrial action at the longwall mine consists of two hours on followed by two hours off, for all shifts on a 24-hour basis.

“There is no production because there is not enough travel time in that pit to do anything in two hours,” Timbs said.

The workers will continue this until Friday when they will reassess their position.

Timbs said the workers might then either ramp up the industrial action or knock it off for a couple of days.

He added the mine has not produced coal for over five or six weeks.

He said the dispute will be entering its 22nd month in mid-August.

An Xstrata spokesman did not see the need to comment on much of what Timbs said, but did provide an update on the production at Tahmoor.

“The mine has produced some coal during the recent move of the longwall by management, however production for the most part has continued to be down,” he said.

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