24-hour strikes for Newcastle coal terminal

Industrial action is set to continue at Port Waratah Coal Services in Newcastle after workers voted for a two-week campaign which could include 24-hour work stoppages.

Two hundred workers at the coal terminal attended a four-hour stop work meeting yesterday and unanimously endorsed further action over the next two weeks.

The action will include future 12 and 24-hour strikes, bans on overtime and working outside of classifications.

Maritime Union of Australia branch secretary Mick Forbes said PWCS wants to change enterprise bargaining clauses related to dispute settlement and contracting

Forbes described the proposed changes as “union busting”.

The MUA claim anti-union proposals in the new agreements seek to undermine the safety and health of workers and tear up longstanding settlement procedures around contract issues.

“The message we received from the members is one of great disappointment about the company’s continued belligerence and attacks on their job security,” said Glen Williams, MUA’s Newcastle branch secretary.

Disputes over the new enterprise agreements have been ongoing for 10 months.

Last week a spokesman for PWCS told Australian Mining the company had been open in its negotiations.

“PWCS has been negotiating in good faith since July last year,” the spokesperson said.

“There is nothing that PWCS is proposing or seeking to negotiate in the new agreement that does not respect the rights of employees to belong to a union, or to be represented collectively.”

The spokesman said contingency plans are in place should the strikes go ahead to mitigate impacts to the local supply chain.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.