Union protests for workers rights

MADDELIN MCCOSKER

Coal miners from Glencore’s Oaky North mine held a rally outside Glencore’s Brisbane headquarters on Wednesday to call for a resolution to ongoing negotiations between workers and the company.

The strike, organised by the mining union CFMEU, was in response to Glencore replacing the current workplace Enterprise Agreement with one that sees workers stripped of a number of key entitlements.

CFMEU Central Highlands District Vice President Chris Brodsky said the protest was a way to get the Oaky North workers and their families heard.

“We wanted to get the message out that little towns in the middle of Central Queensland aren’t forgotten about, and big multi-national companies aren’t out of sight,” Mr Brodsky said.

The protest came after Glencore locked out employees at the Oaky North mine in June, which according to the CFMEU, has caused a loss of 6,400 man hours.

In a separate statement from the CFMEU, Mr Brodsky said the Oaky North workers were being ‘punished and intimidated…for taking a stand’.

“We’ve had workers and their families followed by security guards in their home town Tieri… Our guys don’t scare easily, but they are concerned for their families,” Mr Brodsky said.

“At the end of the day, we’re a tiny little mining town in the middle of nowhere and Glencore is a huge international corporation.

“The odds are stacked against us but we’ll fight the good fight all the way”.

A previous statement from Glencore labelled the CFMEU’s behaviour at the rallies as aggressive, saying the actions of the union had costed its members over $1 million in lost wages.

“Rather than participate in a constructive negotiation for a new enterprise agreement at Oaky North, the CFMEU has continued an ongoing campaign of strikes, workplace bans, aggressive behaviour and false claims, which has cost its Oaky North members more than $1 million in lost wages,” he said.

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