Peabody workers vote down pay deal

Workers from Peabody’s Helensburgh mine have rejected an enterprise agreement offered by the company which would have seen them receive zero, two and two pay percentage increases plus bonuses over a two year deal.

Results from the ballot held last week showed 179 of the 188 workers who had their say voted down the new pay deal.

CFMEU south-western district vice-president Bob Timbs said the result was not surprising, The Illawarra Mercury reported.

‘‘You can’t get much better than that,’’ he said, referring to the results.

‘‘It sends a signal to the company that the workforce is very much united.’’

The union and Peabody are now holding talks before the Fair Work Commission, with proceedings continuing this week.

A spokesperson for the miner told Australian Mining that meetings are confidential and ongoing.

“Peabody will continue to work with Metropolitan’s workforce and the bargaining representatives until the negotiation process has concluded and an agreement has been reached,” she said.

It is believed Peabody has also brought a second matter before the commission in an attempt to halt further industrial action at the mine site.

Heated negotiations over the new enterprise agreement has resulted in multiple strikes and bans on production by the workforce and lock-outs by the company over the last month.

The CFMEU are calling for a four per cent wage increase in exchange for a four per cent sacrifice on bonuses.

Peabody's chief operations officer, George Schuller, sent a letter to employees last week stating that continued strikes would result in “more in unpaid wages than can be recovered even under the most optimistic negotiated outcome”.

‘‘We want to conclude the negotiations with our employees as soon as possible and enable the mine to resume normal production for the benefit of all,” he said.

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