Blacked-out buses to transport Glencore’s new workers: CFMEU

The CMFEU have called on Glencore to retain the current workforce at Collinsville mine amid speculation the miner is planning on bussing in workers from other towns.

GlencoreXstrata first announced in February it would take control of the Collinsville Coal Mine away from Thiess as it pushes for the project to turn a profit.

However after 400 workers were notified by Thiess that their employment contract would end on August 31, they face an uncertain future as GlencoreXstrata are refusing to give preference to the existing workforce.  

President of Queensland’s CFMEU Stephen Smyth said the miner had deliberately kept workers in the lurch about its intentions to rehire.

“Collinsville workers are calling on Glencore Xstrata to do the right thing and recognise the mine’s current workforce,” he said.

“It’s push for individual contracts is simply unacceptable.”

Smyth has accused the company’s recruiters of approaching workers in other towns with job opportunities.

“Word travels fact around the Bowen Basin, especially when Glencore recruiters are promising out-of-towners that they will be bussed in on coaches with blacked out windows,” Smyth said.

A spokesman from GlencoreXstrata told Australian Mining that the mine had been running at a loss for 18 months and was in a transition phase that was attempting to keep the mine viable.

He said moves to rectify loss-making at the project included implementing “a new workplace agreement that is modern and flexible whether this be through individual or collective agreements”

“At the very least workers are calling on GlencoreXstrata to offer jobs to current workers first,” Smyth said.

ABC reported Glencore is hiring a large contingent of security guards, anticipating picket lines and disputes over any changes to the workforce.

In a letter sent to employees last month the miner said it was committed to employing people from the local community.

“We believe we will be able to employ people committed to our future vision for the mine from the local communities of Collinsville, Scottsville, Bowen and Glenden.  Employing locally will allow us to continue to support the ongoing sustainability of the local communities and standard of living with our workforce earning wages of approximately $130,000 per year.”