Peabody wins on $500 work allowance
FAIR Work Australia clears way for new EA at Coppabella and Moorvale.
Wednesday 29 June 2016
The CFMEU has failed in its attempts to block Peabody Energy from terminating an expired Enterprise Agreement (EA) covering workers at the Coppabella and Moorvale Coal Handling and Preparation Plants (CHHP).
The existing agreement was inherited by Peabody from mining contractor Sedgman when they took over the running of the CHHP in 2013. In March last year the agreement expired, and a replacement one couldn't be agreed upon. At this point, Peabody sought permission from Fair Work Australia (FWA) to take the relevant staff off the old EA and put them onto a temporary one until a new EA was negotiated.
The main sticking point in the new EA was Peabody’s proposal to replace a work allowance from the height of the boom (worth more than $500 per week), with a “Short Term Incentive Plan” (STIP), which was intended to align employee performance with production outcomes.
No one disputed that the STIP would reduce employee's’ total remuneration, and not surprisingly the CFMEU, strongly opposed this change.
After careful consideration, FWA approved Peabody’s request to abandon the “Sedgman” agreement in March this year.
However, the CFMEU challenged this approval arguing the views of the CFMEU and Peabody’s employees had not been taken into account that there was a broader public interest involved and that some of FWA’s conclusions were speculative and not evidence based.
However, FWA dismissed the appeal.
“We do not consider in this case it is in the public interest to grant permission to appeal, or that permission should be granted on discretionary grounds,” they said.
“Contrary to the CFMEU’s submission, this did not involve mandating an outcome, only predicting what the most likely outcome would be.”