Mine lock out extension 'Un-Australian': Lauga
THE industrial dispute that resulted in Oaky North miners being locked out of their workplace by Glencore is set to drag on with workers now locked out for a further 14 days.
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga has slammed mining giant Glencore for extending its lockout of 190 permanent workers at the Oaky North mine for a further 14 days, placing financial and mental health strain on the workers and their families.
Mrs Lauga visited the locked out workers at their protest camp near Tieri on Saturday and said this renewed lockout would bring it to a total of 51 days that Glencore had locked out its workers.
She said this came on the back of Glencore's mega profits and showed the complete disdain this foreign-owned company had for its staff and their families.
"This is not a strike over pay. These workers have been locked out of their work because they want their conditions regarding workplace representation maintained,” Mrs Lauga said.
"The 190 locked out workers at Oaky North are standing up against casualisation of their workforce and fighting for their conditions to be maintained.”
A spokesperson from Glencore disputed Mrs Lauga's statements regarding the loss of workplace representation and casualisation.
Glencore said in a statement that employees' rights to workplace representation were enshrined in the Fair Work Act and it was mandatory that all Enterprise Agreements had a disputes procedure.
"The proposed Enterprise Agreement contains a disputes procedure and clearly states that both the company and the employee may choose to be represented at any stage of this disputes procedure,” the statement said.
With regards to the claims Glencore was trying to casualise their workforce the spokesperson said the union supporting the miners, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, backed down on those claims.
"The union two weeks ago acknowledged that this is not a permitted matter under the Fair Work Act,” they said.
"In correspondence to our legal counsel, the CFMEU wrote that 'the union hereby withdraws any claims against (Glencore) that a ratio of direct to contractor employees form part of any enterprise agreements reached'.”
The spokesperson indicated there was a willingness to resolve the dispute through assisted conciliation.
"The CFMEU made an application to the Fair Work Commission for assisted conciliation two weeks ago,” they said.
"A meeting was set for last Friday 18 August, but apart from a legal representative who was in Brisbane, the only actual union participation at this meeting was from a single CFMEU state official who joined by phone.
"We don't know why the CFMEU officials chose not to attend the meeting they called for in person, particularly given some of our Glencore representatives travelled from Tieri to participate in the meeting - such is the seriousness with which we are treating this issue.”