Unionists dispute Weipa decision

Issue 

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — Unionists at Comalco's Weipa bauxite mine in far north Queensland are disputing wage rises which the Industrial Relations Commission ruled on March 14 should be paid to 71 award workers.

On March 15, Weipa Industrial Site Committee secretary Wayne Holmquist accused Comalco of not agreeing to a 6.7% wage rise, backdated to April 1995. He said contract workers performing essentially the same job as award workers were still being paid more.

Holmquist also said the company was discriminating against award miners by refusing to grant them overtime or 12-hour shifts and excluding them from safety and training meetings.

A mass meeting of award workers on March 15 discussed possible future action.

The IRC ruling confirmed the right of award workers to receive higher rates of pay, but rejected the ACTU's application to have union representation for workers during staff contract negotiations.