Unfair dismissals from Thiess for skin cancer appointment

Two former Thiess supervisors who were sacked in May have taken their case for unfair dismissal to the Fair Work Commission.

The two men, Allan Baker and Adrian Ward, claim they were unfairly sacked on May 8 by Thiess to avoid paying their redundancy entitlements, only months before Thiess fired hundreds of other workers.

The dismissals related to an incident in which Allan Baker left his night shift at the Burton Downs Coal Mine on March 27 after only a few hours.

Baker said he had received verbal permission from a superintendant to leave the shift early to attend an early skin cancer specialist appointment in Mackay, with no specific time given.

Baker claims he left at 2:30am, however Thiess representative barrister Greg Sheahan alleged Baker left the site at 9:30pm, and that permission had only been granted for 4am.

Thiess said Baker had seriously breached his contract and mine safety procedures, and had left during a critical phase of production, however Baker claimed he completed all necessary reports.

Thiess said three reports were not found.

Ward was terminated for breach of trust after he was questioned about Baker’s departure time from site.

Ward said he could not remember the exact time Baker left site, but he believed it was 1am.

The night shift on March 27 was wet, and production had been stopped for some hours.

The superintendent who granted Baker permission to leave was cross-examined as a witness for Thiess, however he admitted he had been terminated for misuse of a company credit card.

The mine is about 100 kilometres from Mackay.

The combined redundancy of the two supervisors would have been more than $250,000.

Image: Ross Irby

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