Mine surveyors and their staff colleagues continue to face the threat of redundancy as the industry downsizes and restructures. Whilst we as active members of the management team understand the economic challenges faced by our employers, all of us would agree, that there is a right way and a wrong way to address many of these difficult issues.Staff members at Mt Arthur coal, called out for support from their union when their employer, Mt Arthur Coal bypassed not only the ethical process, but the minimum legal obligations to their loyal staff, when they announced arbitrary retrenchments on March 8th.
Remember, your union supports you...no matter what, if you are not a member, these resent events deliver a strong message. Only a collective and united staff voice can challenge companies who have clearly shown, that in hard times, loyalty means little. If you are not a member, I urge you to join now,
Catherine Bolger, your director of the Colliery Staff Division reports action undertaken on behalf of all staff, by your union, in response to the heartless actions of Mt Arthur Coal,
"UNION FORCES MOUNT ARTHUR TO HALT TERMINATIONS
On Tuesday 8 March, Mount Arthur Coal announced a significant restructure, and within days called Staff into one on ones to tell them that their position was redundant, or that they would be redeployed. No consultation, no discussion re VR, just management telling.
The problem with this approach is that it totally ignores any input or ideas Staff and your union may have about how to avoid redundancies, or reduce the impact on individuals.
The minimum standard in Australia that employers are meant to follow is that when a major change like this occurs employers should consult with their Staff and their union.
Members of the union at Mt Arthur strongly voiced their concerns via their union. They were clear that they wanted an open and transparent process for all Staff that is fair for both those that go and those who stay. It’s disappointing that to date Mt Arthur Staff have felt left out and let down by a lack of communication and information from their own Management.
To ensure that Mt Arthur Staff get a fairer process, and to send a clear message to all employers that Staff must be consulted, your Staff union challenged the Mount Arthur’s approach in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) last Friday. With the assistance of the FWC your union was able to secure the following commitments from Mt Arthur Coal.
· Mt Arthur will NOT issue any further termination notice before noon on Friday the 18th of March (one week delay) ;
· Staff who have been offered redeployment to a “lesser” role will be given until Friday the 18th of March to consider the new position before making a decision to either take the new role or take a voluntary redundancy.
· Mt Arthur agreed to provide the union with further information, and agreed we can hold union meetings on site this week to allow Staff to discuss with their representatives the proposal and alternative positions you might like the company to consider.
· Mt Arthur agreed to at least 2 more scheduled meetings with the union this week to consider your proposals.
The FWC will continue to monitor this process and has scheduled a report back on Thursday the 17th of March.
This type of behavior by Mt Arthur is demonstrative of how Companies would treat employees if unions were not present. It reminds us how collective processes will always achieve a better result than being singled out and individually targeted."
In an update from Catherine Bolger, Director of the Colliery Staff Division, the following report details concessions won by your union for mine surveyors and staff at Mt Arthur, who are being targeted by BHP Billiton for redundancy and restructure, in a process that is deviod of fairness and lawful compliance under the Fair Work Act. It must be noted, that without union intervention, ethic-less actions like this would have progressed without challenge. Only a strong union, supported by an active membership can effectively continue to call employers to account. I urge you if you haven't yet, to join your union and if you have, please continue to support your union that supports you.
18 March, 2016
"Collieries’ Staff and Officials Association WINS Orders
Despite the best efforts of Staff and your Union this week, Mt Arthur failed to provide sufficient information that would allow Staff and their Union to consult around the proposed restructure. Members have communicated their dissatisfaction with the process far, and the continued frustration about insufficient information.
Yesterday, as previously agreed with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and Mt Arthur, your Union went back to the FWC to report your frustration. During yesterday’s proceedings we sought to get further agreement to meet Mt Arthur management. Despite several proposals, yesterday Mt Arthur refused to commit to any process that did not allow them to retrench Staff as of noon today.
Their failure to commit to an open and transparent process yesterday led to your Union seeking Orders in the FWC TODAY, to try to make the company provide essential information. Critical to what we wanted was for actual managers of the Mt Arthur site to attend meetings so that accurate information could be proved in a timely fashion.
To ensure you receive the genuine consultation that you deserve, the FWC made these following Orders:
Mt Arthur Coal will not issue any notices of Redundancy before 5 pm 22 March 2016
Mt Arthur Coal must not offer redeployments of Staff that would take affect prior to Wednesday 23 March 2016
That one or more senior managers must meet with your Union and Staff Representatives on Monday 21 March for the purposes of discussing each department including
1. The duties of positions in the new structure and
2. The number of Staff who are proposed to be made redundant
Mt Arthur Coal is to hold a further phone conference with your union on Tuesday 22 March at 10am
Your Union will continue to provide members at the Mt Arthur site with regular updates, and encourage you to email any questions and proposals you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org."
A report by Catherine Bolger, Director Colliery Staff Division
"BHP at its’ Mount Arthur Operation has recently undertaken a round of forced redundancies without appropriate consultation with the Association and its’ members. BHP simply issued notices of redundancy to around 60 Staff employees, then told us. BHP refused to hold the meeting to tell us on site. They refused to have meetings where their managers and the union meet with employees to discuss the restructure, and ways to avoid redundancies or generate other cost savings .
The Association challenged the BHP process and made an application for orders under the Fair Work Act. We sought orders compelling BHP to meet on site with our workplace reps, with the union and the relevant company managers work area by work area. We sought orders that BHP provide more information about who was affected and to answer questions the employees had about alternate proposals to forced retrenchment.
We were successful in getting orders against BHP. While all of this seems relatively sensible and uncontroversial , BHP have today appealed this decision.
BHP is appealing the Commission finding that giving a notice of termination to someone is a “definite decision”.
.They also argue that the orders of the Commission were beyond the Commission's power."
Firstly, its my hope that the information shared in this forum is useful. Although we all differ in our views concerning how we conduct our employment relationship, the previous posts and reports reveal a consistent theme and that is, at a strategic level, mine owners collectively are intent on dismantling the basic rights and entitlements of all staff including mine surveyors. This strategy includes but is not limited to, ignoring or bypassing existing legal protocols. They do this knowing that your union will challenge the action, using the courts and that in due course, a directive will be issued to force a particular company to retract or desist or delay the particular unfair and often illegal behaviour demonstrated.
But mining companies know that the legal system is slow, expensive and lacks real teeth in preventing the kind of disregard for fairness demonstrated by the coalition of mine owners. Every time a process is challenged by your union, it costs tens of thousands of dollars, which are drops in the bucket for mining companies, but are a significant commitment of resources by your union, to support their members. It is quite simply, a war of attrition with a long term objective, to destroy and dismantle employee representation in the workplace.
If you care about fairness and balance in the workplace, if you are expectant, that the union will continue to support you, then make sure you and your colleagues are members. To secure your rights and entitlements from continued assault, work toward being a union majority in your workplace and win for yourselves and your colleagues a robust EA, that time and trial has shown, is far more resilient to the assaults of mining companies than any stand alone individual contract.
Last edit: 2 years 9 months ago by Justin Smith. Reason: typo
The redundancy entitlements of Mine surveyors employed in the coal mining industry are under serious threat. Your union is fighting against the union of mine owners intent on dismantling the Modern Black Coal Award, where redundancy entitlements are stipulated, The boom bust cycle of mining has uniquely influenced the redundancy entitlements of coal mine workers, establishing more generous entitlements than other industries. The reason for this is that when coal mine workers are made redundant, including mine surveyors, the impact is wide spread, regionally and nationally, and the impact is long lasting. Specialist mining professionals like mine surveyors will often be unable to find employment within their specialist field for extended periods, particularly older employees, and this is why our entitlements are more substantial.
Mine owners don't care about this and that is why they are seeking to take your entitlements away. In support of our case to defend your award, the Colliery Staff Division will be conducting a phone survey. The details are below for your consideration.
CSD Delegate Hunter Region
We need your Help
24 May 2016
"As the Coal Mining Industry Employers continue their push to cap your redundancy entitlements at 9 years, your union has commissioned a survey to ask Staff about their experiences around restructures and redundancy.
These experiences are vital to ensure we are able to present an accurate picture of the real impact that redundancy has on Staff and their families. Your responses to the survey will be collated together to help us defend current redundancy entitlements.
Staff will be contacted by phone this week. Individual responses will not be disclosed, just the collective overall data. Please take the time to answer the survey you will be helping all of your Staff colleagues in the industry. Your assistance with the survey is greatly appreciated as we work together to ensure we defend your redundancy entitlements."