The New South Wales Labor Party plans to cap the number of contracted workers on mine sites, including those in the Hunter Valley, at 20 per cent if it wins this weekend’s state election.
The opposition also mandates that contracted workers engaged by labour hire companies receive the same pay and conditions as those directly employed on the same site.
It will also require labour hire companies to comply with laws regarding workplace safety, pay and conditions, should the party win the election.
This aims to improve the job security and working conditions for coal workers in New South Wales, noting “the creeping insecurity and the erosion of pay and conditions for workers in New South Wales coal mines.”
“A Daley Labor Government wants well paid, secure and locally-based mining jobs in the coal mining industry,” Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Industry and Resources Adam Searle told Australian Mining in a statement.
“We know that many disputes arise because big mining companies want to casualise and contract out their work. This is bad for workers and the resulting disputes have disrupted the New South Wales coal supply.
“There has been too much contracting out of jobs in the industry, undermining the economic security of local workers. That has to stop.”
There have been significant and protracted workplace disputes in the New South Wales coal mining industry, with many of these originating in the push by companies for increased numbers of contract and casual workers, according to Searle and Country Labor candidate for the Upper Hunter Melanie Dagg.
The government’s three-point plan will also address the growing concern regarding fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workforces, “which can undermine secure, locally based jobs and … businesses reliant on them.”
“As the daughter and wife of coal miners, I know that casualisation and insecurity can cause significant stress and financial hardship to workers and their families,” Dagg said.
“Labor will defend the pay and working conditions of coal mining workers.”
Mining entities will be required to engage in safe and fair workplace practices, including having fair dispute settlement procedures, if they’d like to obtain and continue holding any mining approval.
According to media reports, Upper Hunter Nationals MP Michael Johnsen believes Labor’s plan shows the party is siding with the Greens Party to shut down the coal industry by 2030.