CENTRAL Queensland coal miner Darrell Ziebell says he's been sacked after 44 years' loyal service.
Darrell, 60, said he was shown the door by management at Anglo Coal's Dawson Mine, Moura, on Friday.
He said his problems stemmed from injuries he suffered in the workplace after driving a defective water truck on "abysmal roads".
He claims the company had him removed from WorkCover, then axed him with a $2000 once-off payment to assist with future training or education.
Darrell yesterday said he and other long-term miners, who were at the site before Anglo took control, had been singled out - a point strongly rejected by the company.
"In this day and age of a supposed skill shortages in the industry and governments trying to encourage older employees to remain in the workforce, companies are showing scant regard for these ethics and even more disregard for the welfare of their workforce in general," Darrell said.
He said the removal of a worker was a long and stressful ordeal for the employee.
"The ordeal for a member of a coal mining workforce injured at work can be a humiliating and very painful experience both physically and mentally," Darrell said.
"If an individual is targeted by a company, their ordeal will begin immediately with subtle and not so subtle intimidation ... and fierce resistance to that employee's application to WorkCover."
He said there was a conflict of interest with the current WorkCover system, with the body meant to protect the rights of the injured party and interests of the company.
Darrell said how a company handled an employee was not determined by merit, but how they fit into the culture of nepotism.
"If an employee complains about safety, he or she will certainly find themselves on the bottom of the performance list and I know this from personal experience," he said.
A spokeswoman for Anglo American said: "Anglo American's treatment of employees is based on equality, fairness and merit and we strongly deny any allegations of discrimination."
While reluctant to discuss individual cases, CFMEU Queensland secretary Jim Valery yesterday said the union was "very concerned" about moves by mining companies to outsource roles that traditionally had been used to rehabilitate injured workers.
Mr Valery said it was vital companies had rehabilitation programs in place.
He also raised concerns about WorkCover not having adequate resources, particularly in regional areas where the mines were based.
The union says in the previous two years two-thirds of miners injured at work, with less than 10% whole of body impairment, were later dismissed by the company.
Mr Valery said mining companies should be utilising experienced miners.