CFMEU calls for more accountability over mine fatalities

THE $137,000 fine handed down to Anglo American after the company pleaded guilty to not adhering to safety regulations that lead to the death of Grasstree coal miner Paul McGuire was “paltry” and “offensive”, according to Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union district president Stephen Smyth.
CFMEU calls for more accountability over mine fatalities CFMEU calls for more accountability over mine fatalities CFMEU calls for more accountability over mine fatalities CFMEU calls for more accountability over mine fatalities CFMEU calls for more accountability over mine fatalities

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union district president Stephen Smyth.

Lou Caruana

He said Anglo was given a “get out of jail free card” last year and literally got away with murder in the case of Paul McGuire’s death because of the inadequacies in the present system.

“That Anglo could plead guilty for disregarding safety obligations that resulted in the death of Paul McGuire and be given a paltry fine of only $137,000 was an offense to every worker in this country,” Smyth said.

“The failure to again punish Anglo for its role in the death of another of its miners sends a clear signal that mining companies hold no respect for the lives of their employees and that the government allows them to get away with it is a disgrace.”

Smyth said the CFMEU was more concerned than ever about the lack of accountability for the lives of mineworkers.

On May 11 three Anglo mine managers walked free after their involvement in the fatality of coal mineworker Ian Downes in December 2014.

Downes received fatal injuries when the mine wall failed and fell on him at Grasstree underground mine.  Charges were brought against three mine bosses and Anglo Coal through Capcoal Management Pty Ltd.

Smyth said the government should never have accepted a deal that allowed the three mine bosses to walk free.

“While the union expresses our deepest condolences to Ian’s family, friends and work mates, we will continue to fight this injustice,” he said.

“We will continue to campaign for laws that respect the lives and rights of workers and we say very simply that we won’t rest until mining bosses are held to proper account for lives lost in our industry. When you kill a worker, you should go to jail.”