May Day events in Wollongong will feature the Tahmoor mine workers and their struggle for a fair go. The workers and their union, the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU), have been trying to negotiate an enterprise bargaining agreement with Xstrata, the owner of Tahmoor Colliery, for more than 18 months.
Xstrata is still refusing to negotiate in good faith. It has used dirty tactics, including a week-long lock-out (with no pay), to wear the workers down. Xstrata's proposed agreement strips away the working and safety protections of its workforce.
It undermines job security in a town where one in four local jobs depends on the Colliery. Even after more then 99% of mineworkers rejected Xstrata's offer in a secret ballot, the company is refusing to budge.
Community support is vital to the mineworkers. Xstrata, which has made a $200 million and $28 million (during the financial crisis) profit respectively in the two years since buying the mine, can afford to continue stalling.
But the mineworkers want to resolve the dispute so they can get on with work and their lives.
The May Day march on May 1 (details in calendar on page 23) will hear from Chris Cumming, the President of the CFMEU lodge at Tahmoor Colliery. The May Day toast on April 30 will feature Bob Timbs, also from the Tahmoor lodge.
[For more information about May Day events (including bookings for the toast) contact Leanne on 0425 201 828 or (02) 4229 2888.]