A report by the Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union (CFMEU) has revealed 4656 jobs have been lost in Mackay region mines in the last four years.
The most cuts were from BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA)’s Goonyella mine at 783 losses, followed by Glencore’s Collinsville mine with 601.
More than 200 cuts occurred at several other mines including Anglo American’s Capcoal Surface coal mine, Peabody’s Burton mine, and BHP BMA’s Peak Downs mine.
A Glencore spokesman said the figure for the Collinsville mine was inaccurate, according to The Daily Mercury, adding that 900 job cuts occurred throughout five of Glencore’s mines in QLD since 2013.
“It is important to understand that Glencore continues to be one of the biggest employers in the Bowen Basin, with a workforce of around 2850,” he said.
“We appreciate that market conditions have resulted in ongoing uncertainty for our workforce, but we aim to provide our people with as much notice and information as we can before any changes are made.”
Michael Roche, Queensland Resources Council (QRC)’s chief executive, said the losses reflected the downturn in the mining sector.
“All up, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, employment in mining and resources in Queensland has fallen by 23,000 from the peak in November 2013,” he said.
“We’re glad to see some good news starting to appear for the Bowen Basin including Stanmore Coal’s Isaac Plains mine reopening last week and news of two potential projects west of Nebo.”
Earlier this month, the Mackay Regional Council welcomed the construction of the new Hillalong coal project which, if approved, will begin construction 2017 and create 400 jobs.
This also follows the planned construction of the Meteor Downs South mine once suitable transportation is found.
The Union has called on the Federal Government to act on increasing casualisation of workers, with one spokesman saying over the past four years, 1000 permanent positions have shifted into contract jobs.
Mitch Hughes, CFMEU Queensland district senior vice president, said job insecurity was devastating for mining employees.
“Coal mining companies cut costs at the expense of workers by forcing permanent employees onto contracts with lower wages, no sick or annual leave or super, and without basic protections,” he said.
The Union is unveiling their Steady Jobs campaign which includes recommendations such as labour and contract workers receiving the same pay and conditions as permanent employees, and the use of labour and contract hire be limited to a fixed period of service.
It also calls for temporary employees to be able to transfer into a permanent position at the end of their contract – if it is available – and that companies reveal the ratio casual and to permanent staff at their operations.