Strike continues at Anglo American’s Australian coal mine

(Photo: Anglo American)

Reports by state that 140 workers at Anglo American’s German Creek coal mine in Australia remain on strike over their trade union enterprise agreement (EBA), which expired in April 2014 and is being negotiated ever since.

After the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union had conducted its 16th bargaining meeting with the company, conversations hit a dead end on August 22 and labourers walked off the job.

They decided to carry out a protracted industrial action, but tensions started to flare up after it emerged that Anglo American was advertising for excavator operators through labour-hire firm WorkPac in order to replace its striking workforce.

The company, however, has denied such information.

The union is seeking to remove a casual clause to ensure full-time, permanent jobs and halt casualisation of the workforce. They also want inclusion of the industry standard for accident pay, a better process for Fair Work Commission arbitration in unresolved disputes, and continuation of current remuneration rates.

But the world’s number five diversified mining company told Australian Mining that it stands by its position that striking workers are well paid, and that it “won’t be pressured into agreeing to union claims for more money or other changes which put at risk the viability of the mine and security of employment for all”.

On top of the ongoing situation, a corporate spokesperson announced last week that about 60 production roles, 10 maintenance roles and 20 CHPP, or wash plant, roles would be cut.

“Despite the recent increase in coal prices the proposal to permanently park a full pre-strip circuit is considered to be the best option to ensure the long-term viability of the operation,” the representative told the Daily Mercury.

Last month, Anglo American also had to deal with a one-week strike at its flagship Los Bronces copper mine in Chile.