Wollongong Coal workers negotiate pay to save jobs

In an effort to save around 120 jobs, workers at Wongawilli mine have agreed to negotiate aspects of their enterprise agreements with Wollongong Coal.

In an effort to save around 120 jobs, workers at Wongawilli mine have agreed to negotiate aspects of their enterprise agreements with Wollongong Coal.

Over 100 workers met this morning to discuss options that would minimise the impact of job losses at the site.

The move comes after the company last week asked employees to accept wage decreases as production issues hamper the Wongawilli operation.

Australian Mining understands a roof collapse has buried a longwall mining machine at the site, with little hope it can be recovered.

This has seriously affected production at the site, and threatens to push the Wongawilli mine into care and maintenance unless an alternative mining plan is established.

“The CFMEU is meeting with the company on Thursday to discuss possible modifications of enterprise agreements so production can continue on a larger scale," CFMEU district vice-president Bob Timbs told Australian Mining.

While Timbs said he was confident a positive outcome could be reached, he noted that workers were feeling anxious and fearful at the prospect of losing their jobs.

With an operational review underway, volunatry redundancies are also in the offing for miners.

Last year whilst under the management of Arun Jagatramka, workers suffered through almost two months without pay before Jindal Steel took over the company.

Meanwhile, Wollongong Coal has recently asked the NSW government for permission to start mining a 400 metre block of its longwall six at Russel Vale mine early, or risk having to shut the operation.

The company said mining from longwall 4 and 5 has been completed, and once the longwall 6 mine gate roads are constructed, no further coal mining or underground development is permitted without further approval.

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