One-third of the Curragh project coal mine workers are expected to strike over entitlements and pay.
One-third of the Curragh project coal mine workers are expected to strike over entitlements and pay. Sarah Harvey

Strike expected at Curragh project

A COAL mine west of Rockhampton will be forced to hobble along from Monday with about one-third of its workforce expected to strike over entitlements and pay.

The Curragh project - owned by Wesfarmers Resources - also appears to be facing the wrath of a three-pronged union after the company attempted to have union action ruled illegal by Fair Work Australia.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, Australian Manufacturers Workers Union and the Electrical Trades Union act as a "single bargaining unit" in negotiation for about 400 Curragh workers.

For the remaining 800 contract workers supplied by Golding and Thiess, it will be mining as usual.

Already the three unions have had workers refusing to work overtime with the option to stop work at will.

The latest strike will run from June 18-24 and marks a second frontier of industrial action between mine unions and owners.

Each of the three unions have also been involved in regular strikes against BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance for the past 18 months.

For Wesfarmers, which also owns Coles, Bunnings and Officeworks, it has been in talks with the unions since September.

In May, the company began publishing full-page newspaper advertisements to encourage compromise.

The CFMEU released a statement on Friday claiming the company had dismissed worker concerns in 55 meetings spanning the 10 months.

Its list of grievances include the Fair Work Australia fight, a lack of housing at nearby Blackwater plus demands for more consideration of sick leave and annual leave.

The CFMEU district vice president Stephen Smyth said Wesfarmers Resources was trying to use higher pay so workers would agree to drop entitlements.

"Workers are also angry that Wesfarmers is paying lip service to good faith bargaining, displaying no real desire to resolve basic accommodation, wages and entitlement concerns," Mr Smyth said.

Wesfarmers Resources declined to comment on what it described as ongoing negotiations.
 
 



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