Helensburgh miners to vote down Peabody pay deal: union

More than 200 workers at Peabody’s Helensburgh Metropolitan Colliery have voted to take further strikes after the company tries to force a vote on a new enterprise agreement not approved by the union.

The strike is expected to run until Saturday when the employees will place bans and limitations around production.

The move comes after Peabody idled the mine for seven days last week, “as a result of disruptive industrial action initiated by the CFMEU”, which has included numerous 48 hour strikes and limitations by the workforce.

The dispute centres around a new agreement proposed by the multinational miner which will see workers receive zero, two and two, plus bonuses over a three year period.

The union has previously stated its members were sceptical of the bonuses contained in Peabody’s offer as they were ‘‘subject to logical problems’’ and the ‘‘company’s whim’’.

‘‘It’s what we call an at-risk component of our wages and we’re not prepared to offset an hourly wage increase with an at-risk bonus increase,’’ CFMEU south-western district vice president Bob Timbs said.

He also claims the deal would mean workers’ wages would be 20 per cent behind those at other operations in the Illawarra.

Timbs told the Illawarra Mercury yesterday that the company’s move to put forward the agreement had angered workers.

‘‘They’re very angry about it, angry and concerned that the company has practically thrown away the draft enterprise agreement the bargaining committee had agreed on excluding remuneration payments and have gone along and modified it by themselves,” Timbs said.

Timbs does not expect the workers to vote the agreement up when secret ballots are held next Sunday and Monday.

Peabody has maintained it is commitment to come to an agreement which “reflects current market conditions, lifts productivity, reduces costs, enhances safety and provides greater job security for Metropolitan mine employees.”

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