Federal Court rules union miners sacking illegal

A Federal Court has ruled Peabody's sacking of three North Goonyella miners due to union activity unlawful.

The CFMEU welcomed the decision, stating that it "sends a clear message to employers to back off from targeting unionists".

The three miners will now be reinstated and return to the North Goonyella coal mine next week, with Peabody forced to pay $120 000 as well as legal costs.

In their decision last week, the judge said "Peabody has taken deliberate and concerted action to dismiss the three workers for lawful union activity – a move that was out of line with Australian industrial relations traditions and democratic values," according to the CFMEU.

Stephen Smyth, CFMEU mining and energy district president, described the decision as a win for Australian workers.

"This is a powerful reminder of the right of Australian workers to be actively represented by their unions when it comes to safety and conditions," Smyth said.

"We have particular challenges in mining, with global giants like Peabody believing they can set up operations here and treat workers and communities as they like. It’s encouraging to see them slapped down for breaching Australian laws and values – after all it is Australian resources they are profiting so richly from.

"But this decision is a win for all workers."

He went on to state that the decision will allow union representatives to do their jobs on site "without fear of being targeted and sacked".

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.