Contributed from New South Wales
A week ago, supervisors at the Illawarra Coal’s South 32 Appin coal mine were locked out for standing up for their rights, according to the Collieries Staff and Officials Association (CSOA).
The union says a new roster with four hours additional pay was “forced” onto supervisors. After they refused to accept this and moved to take protected action in the form of overtime bans, and under the current industrial relations law, they were locked out.
Kylie Rooke, representing the CSOA, said at the time, that the lock-out puts the 1000 plus working at he mine at serious risk.
The mine has a history of safety issues. It was closed for three months last year, because of excessive gas levels that brought the risk of an explosion, and on 24 July 39 years ago, a disaster killed 14 miners.
Yesterday (23 July 2018), about 60 supervisors took part in a protest outside the company headquarters at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus, against the “dangerous and irresponsible” act of replacing experienced workers with inexperienced “people off the street.”
The once largely Anglo-American owned BHP Billiton multinational, South 32 mostly operates in South Africa, Australia and South America, where it has a poor industrial relations and safety record.
The CSOA has written to the NSW Department of Planning and Resources Regulator, over its concerns about safety at the Appin mine.
“The simple fact is that if you kick out the experienced supervisors and replace them (with) fresh workers that don’t have the same experience, you create a risk,” said Kylie Rooke.
Company management is blaming the supervisors for the increased safety risk. The lockout and resistance to it are continuing.
Mine supervisors protesting outside company headquarters
Video from ABC Illawarra
Strike at company mine in South Africa in September 2017 over a wages dispute, involving an allegation that management was trying to reduce taker home pay.
Video from the Zululand Observer