Griffin Coal have been prevented from removing overtime from the working roster at its Collie mine, thanks to a Fair Work Commission decision handed down yesterday.
The miner sought to reduce the working week from 42 hours to 35 hours in order to avoid paying penalty rates, with plans to operate only on week days.
In Griffin Coal’s submission to the Fair Work Commission, it was stated that there were no prohibitions against roster changes in the Production Agreement, and that reference to a “current roster” indicated the possibility of a future roster.
The CFMEU mining and energy division opposed the roster change, suggesting that individuals would be $50,000 per year worse off, and that the Production Agreement was built on a 12 hour shift.
The union said that although the agreement notes 35 ordinary hours, weekly rostered hours and annualised salary are calculated on an additional seven hours per week.
WA district secretary Gary Wood said the union and members were pleased with the decision.
“From our point of view it is [a good decision], it would have cost workers a lot of money, not only going forward in earnings but also on accrued entitlements,” he said.
“It was a significant decision, a good decision, but equally important was that the material provided to the commission, the forward budget estimates certainly would not have seen the current contracts fulfilled.”
Wood said that in a meeting prior to the hearing Griffin Coal had proposed a new roster system in which workers could choose whether to work 35 hours or 42 hours per weeks.
“They reaffirmed to us that that was the way they saw it working, but it’s a nonsense, if you’re looking at efficiencies you can’t have people saying they want to do this or that roster, it just doesn’t work.”
Wood also claimed the estimates made by Griffin would not have seen the mine able to keep up with current contracts.
“They put up budget material, which meant they only produced 2.2 million last year, but they inflated the availability of machinery rates, they wouldn’t have been able to produce the budgeted tonnages up to 3.6 million tonnes,” Wood said.