Union rep sacked for taking sick leave

A local CFMEU president who was sacked for taking two sick days off from his job at the Dawson coal mine has appealed a Federal Court decision.

APN reported that in April last year Stephen Byrne, a plant operator for Anglo American since 2011, asked to take two days annual leave for sickness, but was refused permission.

Byrne took the two days as sick leave instead and obtained a medical certificate, however when he returned he was sacked.

Byrne submitted in evidence that it was common practice for employees to take annual leave instead of sick leave, as annual leave was not paid out at the end of each year.

Superintendent Andrew Lawn said Byrne’s response to denial of leave was: “Fine, I’m going to be sick anyway”.

Mine manager Tony Power said Byrne’s attitude was a serious concern, as he appeared to think “I will do what I like and when I like it”.

A Federal Court judge found that Anglo Coal had acted within the law, however the CFMEU appealed in a hearing on Monday that others had helped to influence Powers decision to terminate Byrne’s employment.

Anglo Coal argued that Byrne was dismissed for dishonesty.

The Federal Court decision has been reserved.

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