Griffin Coal Mine pay agreement set to be terminated by July 10

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

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The Australian Fair Work Commission (FWC) has approved Griffin Coal Mine’s application to terminate an existing maintenance agreement, provided no settlement has been reached with workers before the nominal expiry date of July 10. The decision will effect up to 70 workers in the Collie based mine, a regional area located outside of Perth in Western Australia.

The approval aims to boost the economic productivity of the mine, if workers fail to reach a new enterprise agreement within the deadline. The ruling cited the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) submissions that the abandonment of the maintenance agreement will result in ‘substantial pay losses for union members’. However the ruling still approved the application, concluding it would be in the public’s best interest in allowing Griffin Coal to increase coal extraction and re-enter the export market.

After lengthy and unproductive negotiations the Commission has ruled to terminate Griffin Coal’s existing maintenance agreement if a new enterprise agreement is not determined by July 10. The mine will continue to operate under the existing ‘Black Coal’ industry award, resulting in significant pay rate cuts for workers.

AMWU Western Australian ‘South West’ organiser Michael Salt has said the decision will “cause substantial reduction in the pay conditions and protections of the Union’s members”.

Despite opposition the Commission found that the termination of the agreement is in the public’s best interest. The decision ruling cited the high costs of labour, which are 43% of Griffin’s operating costs, and gross margin losses of $48.9 million per year. Raj Kumar Roy, Griffin Coal’s President, stated that the maintenance agreement impaired the mines “ability to operate productively and efficiently”.

The mine currently operates with financial support from parent company Lanco Infratech Limited. The decision claims it is in the public’s best interest for the maintenance agreement to be terminated, in order to bolster productivity leading to increased employment and economic benefit to the Collie community.



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