FWC looks past “appalling”
“C**t”, “maggot”, “grub”, “dog”, “f**kwit” and “scab” not OK, but you’ve a right to be angry
Wednesday 01 November 2017
Despite slamming the behaviour of some miners on the picket line at Oaky North as “appalling”, the Fair Work Commission has found in favour of the CFMEU this week.
The FWC ruled that Oaky Creek Coal Pty Ltd (Glencore) had engaged in unfair conduct with striking miners and had undermined the collective bargaining process.
Also, Deputy President Asbury has told Glencore to stop filming the picket line and forced them to reverse some earlier disciplinary action taken against CFMEU miners.
“Glencore will withdraw the direction issued to employees that they are no longer permitted to wear clothing associated with the CFMEU into and out of the mine,” she ordered.
“Glencore will cease, surveillance of employees other than in the precincts of the mine…..and will take no further steps concerning the allegation letters issued to employees including disciplinary action against employees.”
Surveillance video leaked to the media in the last fortnight showed a small number of unionised miners yelling highly offensive remarks at those miners still working on the Glencore owned mine during July.
The footage has formed part of a police investigation into some of the CFMEU employees involved.
However, despite labelling some of the behaviour as appalling, the FWC says miners have a right to express their opinion and anger at the fact that their work is being performed by staff and employees of contractors while they are taking protected industrial action or are locked out of the mine during industrial action.
“The CFMEU and its members do not have the right to express their anger and disgust in any manner which abuses, harasses, intimidates or vilifies staff and contractor employees," Deputy President Asbury said in her concluding remarks.
"For the avoidance of doubt, and without being exhaustive, the terms “cunt”, “maggot”, “grub”, “dog”, “fuckwit” and “scab” are abusive, offensive, intimidating and constitute harassment and vilification.
“[However] the conduct of Glencore is equally appalling, and in particular the clandestine and quasi-military activity of its security contractor in and around Tieri was a disproportionate response to the circumstances which then prevailed and can only have inflamed the dispute.
“Regardless of whether or not it was intended, the conduct of Glencore in issuing the allegation letters, the direction in relation to Union branded clothing and the surveillance, was capricious or unfair conduct which undermined collective bargaining and freedom of association.”
A resolution to the dispute at Oaky North would appear to be no closer following the FWC decision, with another proposal for a new Enterprise Agreement at the mine being voted down unanimously by the approximately 190 people who voted on it.
"When you have been there for 115 days, and you go back and give another 99% no vote you're not giving up anytime soon," CFMEU district vice president Chris Brodsky told local media.
A spokesperson for Glencore said they were not surprised by the result, blaming a campaign of misleading and incorrect information.
"It is disappointing, however, that an offer containing numerous concessions requested by the union in addition to a cumulative wage increase of 8.24% was not considered sufficient to expedite a return to work for our employees."