Conflict between Hunter Valley unionists and a worker on an individual contract has led to allegations of harassment, foul play, and unfair dismissal.
Last week Fair Work Australia ruled two unionised workers had been unfairly dismissed by Rio Tinto subsidiary Coal & Allied after a worker complained they had been intimidated for not joining the Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union.
But Fair Work Australia also ruled that employee Alan King had harassed another worker and had been rightly dismissed from the company.
Court documents show King engaged in the harassment of a worker because they chose not to join the CFMEU.
He was also accused of trying to isolate the employee because they were not a union member.
King was alleged to have called the deunionised worker a "f**king piece of s**t," and referred to them multiple times as a "scab".
In one instance King is also alleged to have said "I f**king hate scabs".
Two other workers were initially dismissed for joining King in the harassment, but lawyers for the CFMEU successfully argued their dismissal was unfair.
In a statement to Australian Mining Coal & Allied did not say whether the two workers found to be unfairly dismissed would be reinstated.
“Coal & Allied welcomes the finding by Fair Work Australia that there was a valid reason to dismiss one of the former employees in question and will review the findings made in the other two cases," the company said.
“The allegations made in these cases were of an extremely serious nature and Coal & Allied does not tolerate workplace harassment of any kind."
“We respect the rights and dignity of workers, with very clear policies that apply to all employees.”
Before King's sacking managers at Coal & Allied asked CFMEU heavyweight Kerry Wild to meet with unionised workers and advise them that the reports of harassment were "not acceptable".
But while Wild is reported to have organised the meeting, court documents show the discussion may have acted to further inflame tensions between workers.
Coal & Allied has declined to comment on whether conflict between unionised workers and employees on individual contracts is a wider problem at the company, and Wild did not return Australian Mining's call.