Collinsville locals receive “thanks but no thanks” letters from Glencore: union

The CFMEU says 75 per cent of Collinsville locals have who reapplied for their jobs with Glencore have been knocked back, leaving community members “devastated”.

It comes after Glencore took over as owner-operator of Collinsville mine, stating that it was pushing to make the operation viable.

As a result, 400 workers were notified by Thiess that their employment contract would end on August 31, with Glencore refusing to give preference to the previous workforce.  

The mine closed in early September, leaving 400 people out of work, 160 of which live in the Collinsville community.

Since then a rift has emerged between locals angered at the decision and the company who say the move was imperative for the mine’s future viability.

A Glencore spokesman said more than 2300 people applied for positions at the mine with the company planning to restart operations in 2014 with a small group of 50 employees which will include labour hire contractors.

The company says this phased approach to the recruitment process will continue until the mine is ramped up to full production by the end of next year.

"We are honouring our stated aim of utilising skills available locally; a high percentage of this initial start-up group is either from the local communities or the Collinsville mine’s previous Thiess workforce," it said.

While full workforce numbers are yet to be finalised, the company expects them to be in the hundreds.

"We have informed those candidates who have not been selected as part of the initial intake that we will retain their details and review their suitability for subsequent recruitment intakes as we continue to ramp up operations through 2014," the spokesman said.

However the union says the local community have been left "devastated and distraught" with the current round of job offers at the site, Daily Mercury reported.

"We're disappointed that … the people who were locked out on the 31st of August weren't re-employed as they should have been legally and morally but it'll be a limited amount that get permanent jobs and the rest will get put into a casual type role which is very disappointing," CFMEU Queensland district president Stephen Smyth siad.

He said at least 75 per cent of local who reapplied for jobs "they have carried out for years" received "thanks but no thanks" letters from Glencore that pointed them to a third-party hiring company for opportunities to work at the mine in the future.

Glencore has previously said it is committed to hiring workers from the local communities of Scottsville, Collinsville, Bowen and Glenden with the company saying that former employees can re-apply for positions.

Glencore say previous workplace agreements are restrictive and want to re-hire workers under differing contracts which are “modern and flexible”.

Other changes it says are imperative in keeping the mine going is the introduction of larger equipment, a new mining plan and addressing restrictions to the CHPP.

But the CFMEU have accused the company of being anti-union and anti-collective bargaining, stepping up their fight against the miner by announcing that it plans to take Glencore to court to block the miner from hiring new workers.

It has claimed the miner is attempting to disband the CFMEU’s footprint in the region and negotiations between the two parties have failed to secure an agreement on workplace contracts.

Meanwhile Mining Communities United president Donna Bulloch said the town had continued to suffer since the mine’s closure, with businesses closing and community members leaving.

“What we want is for the 160 local experienced and skilled workers to be given their jobs back. Why should they have to re-apply for a job that they lost because of a company and its choices, not of their own fault?” she said.

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