Battle for Oaky North
Resistance down to 181 as 9 miners quit job as battle at Oaky North enters its sixth month.
Wednesday 20 September 2017
There are still no signs of a break in the deadlock between mining union the CFMEU and owner of Oaky North coal mine Glencore.
181 CFMEU workers who have been taking protected strike action since April, remain locked out of their workplace, with no one very hopeful that a meeting scheduled for next Thursday will change anything.
While the CFMEU has expressed its resolve to continue the fight, the dispute is taking its toll on the striking workers who have now been on a Union funded subsistence wage for half a year.
CFMEU representative and Oaky North miner, Lachlan Jared, told ABC Tropical North it's taken an emotional toll on the workers and their families.
"As you can probably expect the continuous lockouts are having an adverse effect on blokes mental health, financially families are really struggling," he said.
"We've had several blokes quit with blokes that are looking for part time work, pouring beers and concreting on their days off to keep the wolves at bay."
"They [Glencore] know that blokes are doing it tough, they know grown men are breaking down emotionally, physically, psychologically," he said.
"Every part of your being is getting shattered when you get locked out from your job.
“You're not just locking us out, you're taking money off the table for our kids, for our families."
At the heart of the dispute, is a disagreement over a clause in the existing EA which governs CFMEU access and representation of workers at the mine.
Glencore claims the average salary for permanent employees at Oaky North is about $180,000 a year, and increased around 10% between 2011 and 2016, once wages were adjusted for inflation. They also dismiss CFMEU claims that they want to make everyone casual.
In July, Glencore said the lockouts were approved under Fair Work Legislation and that CFMEU strike action had so far cost them 28-thousand hours of labour at the mine.