CFMEU to take GlencoreXstrata to court over Collinsville coal mine

The CFMEU will take GlencoreXstrata to court in an attempt to halt it from hiring new workers at the site.

Following the closure of the coal mine earlier this month, a move which left 400 people out of work, a fight has erupted between the GlencoreXstrata and the unions and the local town.

GlencoreXstrata initially announced that it would take control over the mine away from the contractor Thiess, moving to an owner-operator model.

The 400 workers were told their contracts would end in August, and since that time GlencoreXstrata has not made an announcement on whether it would take back the workers, with the CFMEU stating that it was a ploy to either move the original workers to individual contracts or bring in new workers.

"Since announcing its decision to takeover as owner-operator at Collinsville, the aggressively anti-union GlencoreXstrata management have been requesting local mineworkers accept individual contracts," CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth said.

"GlencoreXstrata's approach to workplace relations at Collinsville is frankly an abomination."

Speaking to Australian Mining a CFMEU spokesman said legally GlencoreXstrata are supposed to take over any EBA agreements in place.

He accused the company of being anti-union and anti collective bargaining and vowed to fight for workers rights.

“This is shaping up to be a big one,” he said.

Now the CFMEU will make a legal challenge to block the miner from hiring new workers, according to the Courier Mail.

CFMEU national president said it is working to get locals back on the mine, and in the process save the local town of Collinsville, which has been hit hard by the mine's closure.

Daniel Rochford from Whitsundays Marketing and Development said the situation among businesses in the community is ‘dire’.

“Business owners have told us some horror stories in terms of turnover and it diminishing quickly in Collinsville,” Rochford told Australian Mining.

"Some businesses that had been trading at $2,500 a day have gone down to $100."

Rochford said his company had written to Queensland premier Campbell Newman seeking urgent assistance.

Maher explained that "there's no way it's a greenfield site. The old agreement still applies and we will prove that in court.

"But they just don't want the old workforce.

"As soon as they start employing, we will file a transmission of business order and we will win. It's all happened before.

"GlencoreXstrata will lose and then they will pressure the Government to change the law.''

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