Coal workers challenge Fair Work Commission's 43% pay cut

Issue 
Maintenance workers at Griffin Coal staged a protest against the Fair Work Commission (FWC)

Maintenance workers at Griffin Coal and their supporters held a protest outside the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in Perth's CBD on July 5.

They called for a stay on the commission's decision to terminate the recent enterprise bargaining agreement between the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the company, citing the latter's alleged unprofitability.

Griffin Coal claims to be surviving only due to financial support from its parent company, Lanco Infratech.

The 70 workers, who work at Collie in WA's south-west, face a 43% pay cut if the FWC's decision were to stand.

AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said this decision would severely impact the lives not only of the workers directly, but also the whole Collie community, whose local economy is underpinned by coalmining and its use in electricity production.

McCartney also lashed out at Griffin Coal. He said: “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 earth-moving contractors and the local hardware store, and we won't accept that somehow our members should pay for that.”

The AMWU is appealing the Commission's decision, which would see the Collie workers' wages revert to those under a previous EBA on July 10.

Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.