Rise in show cause and unfair dismissals amongst staff in Coal Mines.
The Colliery Staff Division report that it has been requested to intervene and support record numbers of staff who are being fast tracked to ‘show cause’, as mining companies flex their authority and take advantage of a current over supply of labour. This article is not about challenging an employer’s right to manage, it is about making staff, including Mine Surveyors aware, that companies frequently circumvent protocol or misuse established disciplinary policy to target individuals, or to set examples of management authority. Mining companies have demonstrated that they will act with bias, because in most circumstances, the individual is unlikely to seek legal compensation against the employer or is unaware of their rights during the disciplinary process.
In this employment climate, more than ever, it is important to be a member of your union. If you are being targeted for a disciplinary process contact your union immediately and seek advice. Early intervention and support by trained industrial officers whose focus is the welfare of the member will ensure staff are guided through the process and call employers to account to address their obligations of fairness and due process.
If you are not a member of your union, don’t wait till it’s too late.
It is the expectation for most of us, that if there are performance issues to be addressed, that we would be treated fairly and with due process. The following is an exert from an interview with a BMA staff member, whose story was recently published in the Colliery Staff Division Newsletter 'At the Coal Face'. This story has a message for professional mine surveyors and all staff, particularly those in the coal mining industry.
The Collieries' Staff and Officials Association are running a series of stories about why redundancy matters to all people in the Black Coal Industry.
Have you seen a change?
For many years I’ve worked in the Coal Mining Industry for BMA with no issues. Recently I’ve been through an experience I want to share with you.
When I was first put on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) I didn’t think much of it. I thought that if I went to work and did my job to the best of my ability, that would be the end of it.
I thought the performance improvement issue was a short term problem - soon to be over. What I didn’t realise was that I wasn’t the only one – that across BMA in the last year lots of Staff were being put on PIPs. But because we were told not to discuss these issues, BMA was able to keep me in the dark. I didn’t see that this was a purposeful strategy by BMA. I didn’t realise that at the end of the PIP I’d be facing termination (without redundancy).
The Union helped me join the dots – the collective experience of so many other Staff facing the same thing. There’s no written procedure for managing Staff performance, and individual managers are making unfair decisions that will have a direct impact on us, and our families.
Since I realised this issue was bigger than me, I have been able to share information with others who can also protect themselves against an unfair disciplinary process. We’ve got to stop the unfairness.
But the real lesson here for me is that if I had talked to my co-workers about the change in management culture earlier, I would have asked for help earlier.
We need to support each other and let each other know you can get help against this unfair treatment. That’s why I’m asking you to forward this email on to one staff member via SMS – simply click the button below and enter their mobile number.
Thanks to the Union, I still have my job.
A Collieries' Staff and Officials member (name withheld)
It was my privilege this week to support our Staff Union as we collectively defended the assault by coal owners who are seeking to slash redundancy entitlements for all staff as preserved in the award. Below is a report from our union from the Fair Work Commission proceedings this week. Your union is fighting for all staff, not just those who are paid members. But more than ever we need your collective support, both ethically and financially.
Have no doubt, if we are not successful in fighting off this onslaught of your base award conditions, the loss of redundancy entitlements will flow on to all, via revisions to Individual contracts and renegotiated EA's. Be certain that if this domino falls, so will other entitlements, such as 5 weeks leave and accumulative sick leave payable on termination.
If you think you are secure in the content of your individual contract, if you think your supervisor or manager or employer will look after you because you are a good and loyal worker, than you haven't been reading this forum. Only collective membership of your union and collective action from our members can ensure we have a fighting chance of preserving the rights and entitlements of all staff. Below is a link to the colliery Staff Face Book page where you can listen to one of our members as he describes the potential impact if these attacks on our entitlements should the group of coal owners, aka the 'redundancy raiders' be successful..
"REDUNDANCY RAIDERS NEED TO JUSTIFY THEMSELVES
8 November 2016
Surely Companies who want to slash Award redundancy pay would have really good reasons? Surely Reps from each Company would front up to the Fair Work Commission to justify the change and be open to scrutiny? Surely Companies would tell the Fair Work Commission openly what they intend to do if they are successful in slashing Award redundancy pay?
NOT THE REDUNDANCY RAIDERS.
Representatives of the 10 major miners were nowhere to be seen with only Centennial Coal fronting up. The others paid a consultant who said he didn't know what the Coal Companies would do if they were successful in slashing Award redundancy pay.
The redundancy raiders best reason advanced to slash redundancy is that the coal mining industry is paid more than other industries, and shouldn't be because coal mining is no different than every other industry in Australia.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
Fair Work has heard today from the unions’ expert witness, Professor David Peetz. Professor Peetz has produced a detailed analysis of redundancy in the coal mining industry, using independent academic data.
The REDUNDANCY RAIDERS choose not to hear from or cross examine any of our 7 Staff witnesses from Tahmoor , ex-Wambo, ex-Integra, ex Myuna, ex-Angus Place, South 32, and Catherine Bolger.