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Collie community to rally behind local workers hit by 43% pay cut at appeal hearing

Collie community and union members will rally outside the Fair Work Commission (FWC) on St George’s Terrace tomorrow morning at 9am, as the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) appeals the decision to cancel the Griffin Coal Maintenance Enterprise Agreement and resulting 43% pay cut.

Collie community and union members will rally outside the Fair Work Commission (FWC) on St George’s Terrace tomorrow morning at 9am, as the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) appeals the decision to cancel the Griffin Coal Maintenance Enterprise Agreement and resulting 43% pay cut.

The FWC’s original decision to cancel the Agreement “in the public interest”, at the urging of multinational employer Lanco, means 70 Collie and South-West trades people will be thrown back onto the Black Coal Mining Industry Award from 10 July. Workers will have their pay slashed and a host of hard-won pay conditions ripped away, in turn placing the local Collie community under severe economic pressure.

AMWU State Secretary Steve McCartney said the decision would cripple the local Collie economy, and was a green light for management to inflict the financial burden of their poor business decisions onto innocent workers and families.

“It is not in the public interest to rip away 43% of the income of a significant number of workers and their families in the Collie and local South-West communities.

“Lanco owned Griffin Coal is one of the worst-run businesses I’ve ever seen, and we refuse to accept that workers and their families should suffer because of this company’s mismanagement.

“Lanco don’t pay their bills, and they’ve been chased by everyone from the Australian Taxation Office, to local earthmoving contractors and the local hardware store, and we won’t accept that somehow our members should pay for that.

“Our members routinely bring their own basic equipment and supplies such as light globes and safety gear to work, and many times over the years have been paid late and worked for free to keep the mine running.” he said.

Mr McCartney said the economic situation in Collie required compromise from both sides, but the massive pay cut and the roster change offered by the company were totally unacceptable.

“Of course we’re prepared to cooperate and compromise, but to date the very best offer made to our members was a 27% pay cut and six extra hours worked every week for free, with a roster change that would kill local sport and community events on weekends.”

Mr McCartney was also concerned that the decision would set a precedent that would see not only the hundreds of other Collie coalfield workers, but any other worker on an Enterprise Agreement in Australia, facing the same prospect.

“This decision throws doubt into the mind of every Australian worker who thinks that playing by the rules and fairly negotiating an Enterprise Agreement gives them security and certainty at work. Every Australian worker will now be wondering if they’ll be next.

 “All these workers are trying to do is to negotiate a fair replacement agreement with their employer as is their legal right, and they continue to have the full support of the Collie community.” 

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