The long running industrial dispute at Glencore's Oaky North Mine is finally over.
The long running industrial dispute at Glencore's Oaky North Mine is finally over. Contributed

Glencore and CFMEU glad to see end of North Oaky dispute

COAL miners at Glencore's Oaky North mine voted in favour of a replacement enterprise agreement, bringing to an end one of Australia's longest running industrial disputes.

After spending 230 days locked out, 175 Oaky North miners returned back to work late last month after the Fair Work Commission ordered a suspension to the lock out.

This suspension was temporary fix while Glencore, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), and the miners worked together to negotiate and vote on an in-principle agreement.

 

INDUSTRIAL DISPUTE: Protests at Oaky North have resulted in workers being locked out of the Glencore mine for over 230 days, prompting calls for changes to avoid a similar situation.
INDUSTRIAL DISPUTE: Protests at Oaky North have resulted in workers being locked out of the Glencore mine for over 230 days, prompting calls for changes to avoid a similar situation. CFMEU

Glencore spokesman revealed that on the Tuesday night, a vote on the new agreement was success with 118 (74.21 per cent of voters) in favour to 41 (25.79 per cent of voters) against.

"In addition to those 159 votes, 10 employees chose not to vote (there were 169 employees eligible to vote in total)," the spokesman said.

"We are pleased that the employees at Oaky North have chosen to vote in favour of our proposed new EA,"

"We will now continue the process of re-integrating these employees with the rest of the workforce at the mine."

Glencore confirmed they had no plans to lay off their contractors.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Division Queensland District President Stephen Smyth said the replacement agreement meant that the dispute with Glencore had concluded.

 

CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth.
CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth. Tara Miko

"Employees have returned to work following what has been a significant and protracted dispute," Mr Smyth said.

"The replacement enterprise agreement was voted up following the end of a protracted lockout.

"During the course of the dispute, multinational Glencore tried every trick in the broken book to gut the employees' terms and conditions."

He said this included an unreasonable and unconscionable lockout of workers in excess of 200 days, an attempt to terminate the previous enterprise agreement under broken laws, and other unfair tactics in breach of the good faith bargaining requirements.

"The employees at Oaky North have seen off every unfair tactic utilised by Glencore. For over 200 days they have endured to ensure Glencore's attempts to gut their terms and conditions were unsuccessful," Mr Smyth said.

 

CFMEU Mackay district president Stephen Smyth at the rally.
CFMEU Mackay district president Stephen Smyth at the rally. Emily Smith

"As a result of standing firm, the employees have been able to retain the vast majority of their terms and conditions including rights to arbitration, housing subsidies, and bonus arrangements.

"They refused to let Glencore walk all over them and that is a massive achievement in response to the aggressive and unjustifiable actions of one of the largest multinational around.

"The laws are clearly broken and need to change.

"Glencore's actions were so disproportionate as to be absurd.

"The CFMEU will be vigorously pursuing changes to bring some balance back to Australia's industrial relations system."

He said the employees at Oaky North and the CFMEU were grateful for the support received during the course of this dispute.



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