Why Glencore's mine reopening has some worried

Despite the good news, the CFMEU has some long-term concerns.
Despite the good news, the CFMEU has some long-term concerns. Mara Pattison-Sowden

WHILE the show of confidence in Glencore's Collinsville coal mine reopening has most in the resources sector celebrating, the dependency between job security and coal prices the move revealed is worrying others.

Particularly since the split between contract workers and permanent employees set to be offered the 200 jobs has not yet been revealed by Glencore.

>> READ MORE | Bowen Basin coal mine to fire up again, 200 jobs

CFMEU Mackay district president Stephen Smyth acknowledged the reopening made sense, given coal prices had hit US$200 a tonne recently.

But he questioned the longevity of the jobs, since labour hire employees could be turned away at a moments notice if coal prices came back again.

Almost a year ago, the mine announced 180 workers would lose jobs as coal dropped to about US$75 a tonne.

"The trend now is, when things are bad, offload workers. When things are good, put them on again," he said.

"The problem with that is mining is cyclic.

"That's not a good environment to work in."

Mr Smyth also believes other mining companies will look to copy the model, filling their workforce with labour hire to allow it to work at full capacity when prices were good, and rapidly switch to a skeleton crew when conditions worsened.

Topics:  cfmeu coal mine collinsville employment glencore jobs

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