Coal unions threaten strikes in WA

As workers down tools at BHP Billiton's coal mines in Queensland, unions in Western Australia threaten to do the same with workers at Griffin Coal's Collie mine.

Earlier this year the miners threatened industrial action over moves by the company to introduce hot seating and extending workers hours.

The plan by the new Indian owners Lanco would see miner work 12.5 hours per shift so pre-start meetings and handover procedures do not halt production at the operation.

CFMEU secretary Gary Wood said this plan is a stumbling block in the latest negotiations for a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

Wood said while these longer shifts are fine for FIFO mine sites where the workers are transported to accommodation camps, they are a serious issue for DIDO miners.

"One only has to look at drive-in, drive-out operations in Mackay and Blackwater where there has been a huge amount of road fatalities directly relating to people returning from long shifts," he said.

On Tuesday the CFMEU voted to give Griffin until 1 June to meet its demands for a new pay deal as well as conditions, or it would take the miner to Fair Work Australia, according to The West.

It said that it will carry out 12, 24, and 48 hour work stoppages, as well as pay raise over 20% over four years.

Unions also demanded that Griffin not develop a mining camp for its Muja South development, which it says will take jobs away from locals.

Griffin general manager of industrial relations, Chris Godfrey, said the threat was worrying but the miner is aiming to resolve the issues; however he added that the pay raise was excessive and the company could not pay it.

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