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Under 16 Girls with coach Miranda Baker Aboutusgeneric_2 Under 17 Boys Corey Lund, Mikayla and Jeanine Peckett A Grade Men's teams mining Uncle Randolf and Lynda Connell with footballs painted by Angus Row Row (L-R)Channing, Cooper Collis, Kynan, Tanya Jeffrey, Jakyah-Lee, Jahli, Jurakai and Kaylee Doyle Greg Byrne, Downing; Ian Reed, QNP Aboutusgeneric_1 Aboutusgenericimage_3 (L-R) Zander, Megan, Mac, Jonty and Wylie Philp Steve Beale and Chris Dunphy, MIPEC Construction mine
Under 16 Girls with coach Miranda Baker Aboutusgeneric_2 Under 17 Boys Corey Lund, Mikayla and Jeanine Peckett A Grade Men's teams mining Uncle Randolf and Lynda Connell with footballs painted by Angus Row Row (L-R)Channing, Cooper Collis, Kynan, Tanya Jeffrey, Jakyah-Lee, Jahli, Jurakai and Kaylee Doyle Greg Byrne, Downing; Ian Reed, QNP Aboutusgeneric_1 Aboutusgenericimage_3 (L-R) Zander, Megan, Mac, Jonty and Wylie Philp Steve Beale and Chris Dunphy, MIPEC

Labour hire push back
MINER starts a petition to address perceived inequality in mining wages rates.
Wednesday 12 August 2015  

A CENTRAL Queensland miner is hoping to apply political pressure to mining companies by launching a petition for a change in the legislation governing labour hire in mining.

Specifically, the petition calls on the federal minister for employment, Eric Abetz, to amend labour hire legislation so that rates must include penalty rates, annual leave and sick pay.

The use of labour hire in Central Queensland mining has stepped up in the last 12 months as mining companies look for ways to cut costs in the face of ongoing low coal prices.

While for many companies the move is a survival tactic in the current environment, it is facing increased push back from the mining workforce who are concerned this will be the new reality.

While the practice of labour hire is, in principle, no different to employing casual labour in any other industry, miners are becoming increasingly concerned about the difference in pay rates and the fact that some are being told they will never be made full time.

“I'm labour hire and have been at the same mine for over two years now,” one miner said.

“We take home on average AU$700 less than the permanents do, and that figure will rise from the 1st of September as we are getting another pay cut, but I am not sure how much it's dropping to yet.”

Another miner told Shift Miner while he understood there might be times when labour hire made sense, he thought there should be a limit to how long a miner could be kept as a casual.

“Just over 12 month ago, labour hire at the goon show (Goonyella) were paying about $55 hour; they called a meeting and told their employees they were reducing the rate to $47 hour - and if you didn’t like it, there was no job for you there,” he said.

“The permanents are on $2000 a week and I am on maximum $1200 to $1600 a week without sick leave, holidays or any way to borrow money, and I don’t get paid if it rains.

“That’s a real kick in the guts for the people that have been helping them achieve record tonnages.

“Previously, a temporary was employed for 3 months, and if you were any good you got a shirt; now there is no shirt and your employment is open ended.”

Right now, labour hire rates on some of Central Queensland’s lowest cost mines have fallen to as low as $44 an hour.

Although, interestingly, one miner told Shift Miner that rates for digger and shovel operators had actually increased by $4 an hour - suggesting some companies were wanting to reward the miners who are driving their record production rates.

On its first day the petition had 200 supporters.

To read more of the comments relating to this issue go to our facebook page


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