Port Kembla coal strikes continue

More industrial action is planned at the Port Kembla Coal Terminal after unions and management failed to come to an agreement.

Initial strikes on site began earlier this month after failed enterprise agreement negotiations at the site, where workers demanded a 4.5% pay raise and BHP, the operator of the Port Kembla Coal Terminal, only offered 4.3%.

Negotiations have again failed, and around 100 workers walked off the job yesterday, the Illawarra Mercury reports.

It came only one day after they returned to work.

Industrial actions are scheduled to continue until 19 February.

CFMEU district vice president Bob Timbs said this latest deal was even worse than the last, and pointed to further strikes if an agreement was not reached.

"Future industrial action is definitely open to us," he said.

Timbs said the issue of job security had been one of the continuing stumbling blocks.

He called for "certainty on manning levels.

"Basically they are still trying to erode the coverage of the enterprise agreement," he told the Mercury.

Port Kembla Coal Terminal general manager Peter Green was reportedly unavailable for comment.

These strikes at the BHP Billiton run port follow increased industrial action at BHP’s joint venture coal mines in the Bowen Basin.

More strikes are expected next week as total overtime bans restart tomorrow across several BMA coal mines.

It comes as the joint venture company and the Single Bargaining Unit announce there will be no compromise on outstanding unresolved issues.

Close to 99% of more than 4000 unionised miners voted to again carry out industrial action after negotiations reached a head this week.

However despite the rolling strikes over the last year, BMA chief Steve Dumble said the miner will remain focused on staying competitive, and knocked the SBU’s claims that negotiations are over safety.

The unions says their principle argument is now over who is responsible for monitoring safe work practices, demanding its members supervise, while BMA stated that it wants to choose its own safety supervisors – even if they are not a member of the union.

 

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