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MP calls for law change as CQ miners set for sad Christmas

FIGHTING LOCKOUTS: Keppel MP Brittany Lauga on the picket line with the locked out Oaky North miners calling for a the federal government to ban extended lockouts.
FIGHTING LOCKOUTS: Keppel MP Brittany Lauga on the picket line with the locked out Oaky North miners calling for a the federal government to ban extended lockouts. Contributed

KEPPEL MP Brittany Lauga hasn't wasted any time getting back to work by calling on the federal government to ban extended workplace lockouts.

Mrs Lauga has vocally advocated on behalf of the 180 workers who currently have been locked out of the Oakey North mine for out for over 150 days following a breakdown in contract negotiations with mining giant Glencore.

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga.
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga. Chris Ison ROK131117calp3

She said that mining giant Glencore had locked its workers out simply because they sought to retain their existing workplace conditions.

"The coal which Glencore is mining is owned by the Australian people and Australians expect that in order to take our coal, mining companies must operate responsibly," Mrs Lauga said.

They were workers but now they're protesting outside Glencore's Oaky North mine.
They were workers but now they're protesting outside Glencore's Oaky North mine. Campbell Gellie

"As a nation we also expect that Australian workers are treated fairly, and with dignity and respect.

"Glencore is completely disregarding the values of fairness, dignity and respect which underpin Australia's industrial relations system."

She said Glencore should not be permitted to lock its workers out like this under Australian law and still make mega profits from our nation's natural resources.

 

"Glencore's behaviour is un-Australian and should be illegal, but it's all given the green light by the Turnbull Government's industrial relations regime," she said.

Mrs Lauga further argued that penalties should be imposed on mining companies which treat workers poorly.

 

The lock-out at Glencore's Oaky North Mine continues.
The lock-out at Glencore's Oaky North Mine continues. Contributed

"Mining companies that damage the environment or breach workplace health and safety laws are subject to penalties. Penalties, such as a suspension of the company's mining lease, should also be imposed on companies which treat workers poorly.

"This kind of cruel corporate behaviour should be illegal in Australia" Mrs Lauga said.

Mrs Lauga said the decision to lock workers out has the given the miners no certainty about their future, with some even cancelling their Christmas holidays and hurting their families.

 

Oaky North employees outside Glencore's Brisbane headquarters.
Oaky North employees outside Glencore's Brisbane headquarters. Geoff Egan

"Christmas is only three weeks away and yet this company has issued a lockout notice until 19 December" she said.

Mrs Lauga said while Glencore's executives will be celebrating Christmas with pay cheques from a revenue spike to $US3.1 billion, the workers who helped make some of that profit have been pushed out onto the roadside.

Employment Minister Senator Michaelia Cash and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry are yet to provide comments for this story.

   

Topics:  brittany lauga glencore oaky north tmbpolitics



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