Helensburgh mineworkers win battle of endurance with Peabody

The Miners Union has announced that mine workers at the Helensburgh mine in New South Wales have successfully fought off Peabody’s concerted advances on their pay and working conditions, after Helensburgh members successfully negotiated a new agreement in principle at a mass meeting held yesterday.

the Premier's visit to Helensburgh mine in 2011 Image credit: flickr.com User: Tony Abbott
The Premier’s visit to Helensburgh mine in 2011 Image credit: flickr.com User: Tony Abbott

According to a media release featured on CFMEU, the agreement has finally put an end to the hard-fought campaign which saw workers at Helensburgh endure a fierce battle with Peabody’s management, including a lengthy company lockout.

South Western District Vice President Bob Timbs congratulated the community for their support of workers and said the new agreement included gains in pay, better procedures to deal with workplace disputes and two wage increases which would deliver a 4.25% increase through the life of the agreement, which expires in 20 months.

“Peabody initially tried to institute a pay freeze for the life of the agreement which would leave Helensburgh workers behind CPI and make them the lowest paid mine operators in the region,” Mr. Timbs said.

“Members at Helensburgh had fought and won their workplace conditions for more than a decade and were not prepared to let their agreement fall behind every other mineworker in the Illawarra.”

Mr. Timbs said Helensburgh members did not fight only for themselves but for all mine workers, as the outcome of the negotiations would likely reflect in all major mining companies across the region.

“Throughout negotiations Helensburgh members showed they were prepared to make concessions to ensure Peabody’s operations are viable into the future – this included being willing to tie pay raises with production.”

“But Helensburgh members who have helped Peabody earn large profits at the height of the investment cycle were not prepared to accept slashing their pay and conditions to appease expectations from shareholders addicted to a sky-high coal price.”

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