Griffin coal dispute reaches agreement

An agreement in principle has finally been reached at Western Australia's Griffin Coal mine.

It comes after workers at the mine threatened to carry out rolling strikes over pay and shift issues.

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.

In late May the CFMEU voted to give Griffin until 1 June to meet its demands for a new pay deal of more than 20% over four years as well as safer conditions, or it would take the miner to Fair Work Australia.

It also said that it will carry out 12, 24, and 48 hour work stoppages unless demands were met.

Previous agreements failed after workers said no to the company's proposal to reduce their shift breaks from three to two.

“They currently get 60 minutes, two 15-minute breaks and one 30-minute,” Wood said.

The company had proposed two breaks of around 20 minutes and 40 minutes.

The new agreement will be now finalised on 14 June, according to the Collie Mail.

The agreement with the CFMEU has been “a long time coming” but the two parties “weren’t that far apart”, Griffin's industrial relations manager Chris Godfrey said.

While negotiations have reached an amicable end at this coal mine, the situation at BMA continues to stagnate after miners returned to work following rolling stoppages.

However, the situation in Australia looks much better for workers compared to deteriorating conditions in Spain.

Nationwide strikes by coal miners have seen violent riots erupt after unions opposed reductions in coal subsidies from €300 million to €110 million, in an attempt to curb national spending and fight the growing debt in the country.

Around 8000 protestors from 40 mines set up burning barricades and launched rockets at the police, the Daily Mail reports.

Unemployment stands at nearly 25% for Spain.

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