“Gone to shit”
Meeting yesterday at Oaky North likely to see lockout extend through Christmas
Wednesday 22 November 2017
The CFMEU says a meeting yesterday with the management of the Glencore owned Oaky North mine has not resolved any differences - in fact, it has moved the parties further apart.
District Vice President for the CFMEU Chris Brodsky says he expects the industrial dispute to continue through Christmas and into the new year, with no visible sign of a resolution in sight.
“Yes everything has gone to shit,” he told Shift Miner
“We met with them yesterday and had a pretty decent meeting.
“We went, willing to move a little bit on the big hitter issues like workplace representation and the disputes clauses, but they responded by saying they wanted a whole lot of other smaller things included as well, that they had previously conceded.
“So the result is that we are further apart.”
Under the Fair Work Act, both employers and employees have levers they can pull to influence negotiations during an enterprise negotiation.
The employees can go on strike which costs the employer, while the employer can lock out the workforce which costs the workers. Both actions can be classified as protected by the Fair Work Commission, meaning they are not illegal.
However, the CFMEU says the Lock-Out - which has now extended beyond 100 days is a disproportional response by Glencore.
“This is likely to mean 180 workers and their families are going to be without work or income over the Christmas period,” Mr Brodsky added.
“The Union is going to look after them, and try and keep things as normal as we can, but when workers went on strike earlier in the year, Glencore said they lost 6400 man hours.
“Well by locking them out all this time, it has cost them more than 300,000 man hours.
“It’s a discussion I have been having with a lot of people lately about what is a fair or proportional response in this negotiation.”
Glencore has not yet responded to requests for comment. However, they recently told Shift Miner earlier strike action cost them 28-thousand hours of labour at the mine.
They also claim the average salary for permanent employees at Oaky North is about $180,000 a year and increased around 10% between 2011 and 2016 when wages were adjusted for inflation.
According to the CFMEU, short of a resolution between the two parties, the only thing that can end the lockout now is a Federal Government intervention or a new ruling by the Fair Work Commissioner. They say it's now the longest lockout of employees in Australian history.