Mt Isa workers vote on log of claims
By Bill Mason
BRISBANE — A mass meeting of unionists at the giant MIM mine at Mt Isa will be held on June 27 to vote on a draft log of claims, including a 16% wage rise, free annual air fares to Brisbane and a 38-hour work week.
The log, draw up by the ACTU, was endorsed on June 20 by the Mt Isa combined unions' single bargaining unit (SBU). If endorsed by the 2700-strong work force, the log will be presented to MIM as the basis for enterprise bargaining negotiations to begin on July 3.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union mineworkers district vice-president Hec Heumiller said the call for a mass meeting had been accepted by a large majority of the SBU members.
This was despite attempts by the ACTU and senior Queensland union leaders to have the log approved by smaller workplace meetings.
The CFMEU, Clerks Union and Electrical Plumbing Union had earlier called for an immediate mass meeting to consider the log.
CFMEU Mt Isa lodge president Chris Day said on June 18, "Concerns have been raised ... that the enterprise bargaining process has been removed from local representatives and driven by state officials and the ACTU".
He said this "misunderstanding" could be cleared up only by giving all workers an opportunity to participate together.
Meanwhile, MIM told the Industrial Commission on June 19 that cutting the number of unions with representation from five to two was of "vital importance ... the future viability of the business is at stake."
The CFMEU, Clerks and EPU are challenging an earlier commission order to "purge" members of their unions, leaving coverage to the Australian Workers Union and the Manufacturing Workers Union only.