Financial help on the way for Gujarat workers

The CFMEU has secured short-term hardship payments for workers at Gujarat NRE, with workers set to receive a week’s pay.

The union’s south-western district vice-president Bob Timbs said the employees should receive the payment no later than next week after the CFMEU secured a deal between the mining company and the NSW Long Service Leave Corporation.

"We've been working with the Long Service Leave Corporation to free up some reimbursements for Gujarat to use, on the strict condition they are used only to pay workers," Timbs said.

"The company says they will be working from now on to finalise the payments and get them to workers as soon as they can."

Timbs said the money would provide short-term assistance to workers until a shareholder meeting on October 16 when a takeover bid by Jindal Steel and Power is predicted.

Timbs said the union was seeking a meeting with Jindal “who appear to be holding the ball at the moment,” The Illawarra Mercury reported.

He said the union had not encountered a case like this before, with the CFMEU’s ability to help its members hamstrung by the limited communication by Gujarat.

"Our union has never seen anything like this or encountered a situation of this scale before," he said.

"The dynamics of it change from day to day, minute to minute at the moment and we haven't been able to put things in place to help our members … because there is no use us making statements before we knew what was going on.

"It's gut-wrenching to watch them go through this. The uncertainty of their future employment and when they are going to be paid next is destroying them and sending vast anxieties throughout the workforce.”

The union is planning another meeting at the Fraternity Club this Tuesday, with miners able to talk to financial advisors about the situation.

"We've also got AusHelp coming along, which was set up by the federal government for miners and blue collar workers to talk about stress and suicide prevention," Timbs said.

"We're also going to set up a helpline for the guys, and get someone to speak to them about men's health with regards to stress."

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