VOL. 70 s NO.2 APRIL/MAY 2004 REGISTERED BY AUSTRALIA POST PP 243184/00025 2,049 days after being unfairly dismissed, Rio Tinto finally opens the gates for the return of some of the victimized Blair Athol miners The Union makes us strong! Pictured above are some of the victimized Blair Athol miners and supporters who turned up on March 1 to cheer four of their unfairly dismissed work mates who were going back on the job after being victimized for five years and seven months. The four are in the foreground from left to right - Gary Mannion, Robert Smith, Todd Rogers and Trevor Kelly. Pictured below are some of the victimized miners partners and supporters who were there on March 1 as part of a guard of honour to see them back on the job. G e n e r a l P r e s i d e n t ’ s R e p o r t Blair Athol shows the value of tenacity, loyalty and solidarity BY TONY MAHER – GENERAL PRESIDENT A s they left for their first day back at work at Blair Athol after five years and seven months of families have had to endure years of suffering and hardships inflicted on them for no other reason than they choose to union bosses” claiming that the abolition of AWAs would “remove choice and flexibility”. victimization, Gary Mannion, Robert belong to our Union and were proud of it. Andrews knows there is no choice in Smith, Todd Rogers and Trevor Kelly Their strength of character and an AWA – it’s the boss’s way or the told their families and other supporters commitment to their principles saw highway. And as for flexibility, who had gathered to form a Guard of them through the most difficult of times. collective agreements provide plenty in Honour for them, that they could not The support of their fellow-Unionists that department. have survived their ordeal without the throughout Australia sustained and The bosses love AWAs because they magnificent support they had received inspired them. The Blair Athol miners strip workers of their rights and from their fellow-Union members and their families know that without provide the maximum exploitation of throughout Australia. your support they would have been long employees for minimum costs. The four were the first of the 16 gone and forgotten. Now, almost six As we draw ever closer to the federal Union members unfairly dismissed by years later, six of them are back on the election you can expect to hear more Rio Tinto at its Blair Athol coal mine job. This struggle will not be over until scare-mongering on industrial relations in Central Queensland on 21 July the remaining 10 victimized miners and from the bosses and the Howard 1998, to finally walk back on the job their families receive the justice to which Government. After all, they have a lot on 1 March. It was exactly 2,049-days they are entitled. to lose with a return to a fairer IR since Rio Tinto threw them on the Our Union has learned many lessons system. On the other hand those of us industrial scrap heap and the then from past struggles. The victimized who have been in the front line general manager boasted that none of Blair Athol miners and their families fighting for workers rights and decent the 16 would ever work at Blair Athol have shown us once again that tenacity conditions have a lot to gain from a again “as long as my arsehole points to pays, loyalty pays and solidarity pays. fairer system. That’s why we’re backing the ground”. That particular head the election of a Latham Labor kicker is gone leaving us to wonder Mining bosses rally to nobble Government. exactly where that delicate part of his Latham’s commitment to fair anatomy is pointed to these days. Two of the other victimized Blair industrial laws Athol miners, Alan McGuinness and Mark Latham’s promise that a Federal Ron Bettridge, are also back on the Rio Labor Government will abolish AWAs Tinto payroll at the neighbouring Hail and reintroduce fairness and equity to Creek mine. As this column goes to industrial relations has sent the mining press, the Union is still fighting for the bosses into a spin. remaining 10 victimized miners to get BHP Billion president Graeme Hunt back on the job. led the charge at the annual conference Rio Tinto’s victimization of the Blair of the Australian Mines and Metals Athol miners has become Australia’s Association in mid-March claiming longest running industrial dispute. It is that statutory individual contracts were cover almost impossible to imagine the indispensable. Hunt pointed out that Pictured on the cover are the four Blair Athol miners who returned to work on 1 March. From left they terrible ordeal these miners and their excluding coal, 82% of WA miners are: Robert Smith, Trevor Kelly, Gary Mannion and families have been subjected to. Rio were on individual contracts. Compare Todd Rogers. Tinto attached a disgraceful stigma to the lower wages, conditions and safety Common Cause is published by Bruce Watson for the reputations of 16 good working standards of the non-union WA the Mining and Energy Division of the Construction, men who the company maliciously metalliferous industry to the unionised Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). claimed were sacked because they were coal industry and you’ll see why the Editor: Paddy Gorman. bosses are so keen to keep AWAs. Level 1, 365 Sussex Street, Sydney 2000. not good enough as it sought a cover Phone: (02) 9267 1035, Fax: (02) 9267 3198. for its victimization. True to form, Howard’s IR Minister Designed & Printed by Breakout, These good men, their wives and Kevin Andrews attacked “Labor and its 65 Bellevue Street, Glebe 2037. APRIL/MAY 2004 s COMMON CAUSE 3 G e n e r a l S e c r e t a r y ’ s R e p o r t Mineworkers Trust provides $1.8M for communities since 2000 B Y B R U C E WAT S O N – G E N E R A L S E C R E TA R Y generations. Community groups until it closed four-and-a-half years T he Mineworkers Trust has provided $1,812,938 in grants in the past four years to organizations, engaged in vital social services have also been beneficiaries and, of course, retired later when its reserves were exhausted. By then, the pit had not only kept the institutions and individuals throughout mineworkers organizations have also workforce employed for four-and-a-half our mining communities with every received grants to assist them in the years, all the miners received their full cent of this money coming from wonderful work and projects they are entitlements. royalties of the United Collieries engaged in. With the mine closing in 1979 operation in the Hunter Valley. While it is our Union’s privilege to because its reserves were exhausted, the It is appropriate that as we mark the be able to channel funding through the Miners Federation applied to the Wran 150th anniversary of our history as a Trust into our communities we should Labor Government for a replacement fighting Union, we reflect on the never forget that it was the militant lease and was granted the area operated enormous contributions generations of action of a determined group of coal today by Untied Collieries in the mineworkers have made collectively to miners, with the support of our Union, Hunter Valley. our communities. It would be that set the scene for all this. The coal owners and the impossible to quantify the extent of In February 1975, coal miners at the conservatives bitterly opposed the these contributions in the past 150 Nymboida colliery were told that their Union being granted a lease claiming years, but the more than $1.8 million employer had gone bankrupt and that the Miners Federation would use profits contributed to our communities their jobs were gone with no money to from the mine as a war chest to fund through the Mineworkers Trust in the pay out their entitlements. With the industrial conflict. However, the past four years is an example of the support of the Union they staged a Union’s position was always to return commitment to mining families and work-in and then took over the mine. earnings to the community and that is the organizations that are part of our As part of a negotiated settlement with why the United Trust was established communities. their bankrupt employer, the Miners and that is how millions of dollars have The Mineworkers Trust is funded Federation took over the Nymboida gone back into our communities rather from our Union’s ownership of the lease and the miners worked the mine than into the coffers of coal owners. United Collieries lease. The Union receives a royalty on each tonne of coal produced at United as part of the 2004 Mineworkers Trust Scholarships agreement that gave the Miners Congratulations to the following 15 successful applicants who each receive a Federation the original lease in 1979 $4,000 scholarship. All applications were assessed by Dr Greg Patmore, from and the Trust has channelled every cent Sydney University: we have earned back into our Surname First name Lodge District communities. Through the Trust, there have been 1. Currington Beth Eraring NSW Energy grants of $300,000 in scholarships for 2. Gerrish Amy Dartbrook Northern dependants of our members in the last 3. Harrison Linsey West Wallsend Northern four years alone. Health service 4. Hillman Laura North Goonyella Queensland 5. Irwin Melanie Springvale South Western providers and hospitals in mining 6. Keenan Lauren Mt Thorley Northern communities have benefited South Western 7. Kerr Donna Tahmoor enormously from the Trust, as have 8. Matherson Angela Moura Queensland rescue operations. Sporting and other 9. Neilson Shea Cook Collilery Queensland community groups have received 10. Parks Clinton Medway South Western substantial grants. Funding has been 11. Redmond Gabrielle South Bulga Northern provided to assist in the establishment 12. Stanford Simone Ulan No. 2 U/G South Western and maintenance of Memorials and 13. Traeger Dane Ulan No. 2 U/G South Western history projects as communities keep 14. Vandersee Linzi District Queensland 15. Van Wyk Luke Collinsville Queensland our historical legacy alive for future 4 COMMON CAUSE s APRIL/MAY 2004 M e m o r i a l W a l l t r i b u t e t o o u r f a l l e n c o a l m i n e r s Maitland calls on Howard to ratify ILO Convention on Health and Safety in Mines A fter the biggest gathering in years to pay tribute to coal mineworkers killed on the job, CFMEU National Secretary John Maitland called on the Howard Government to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on Health and Safety in Mining. Addressing hundreds of mineworkers, their families and surviving relatives of those killed in the Northern District’s coal mines, John Maitland pointed out that this year marked the 10th anniversary of the first global meeting of mineworkers in Geneva, Switzerland, from which the Some of the relatives of coal miners killed at work at the Service. ILO adopted its Convention 176 on Health and Safety in Mining. “Almost all the major mining nations of the world, including the USA, have ratified the ILO Convention, but to its shame not Australia. John Howard has stubbornly refused to move from this disgraceful position showing the contempt he has for mineworkers safety”. John Maitland covered a broad range of issues in his main address at the Miners Memorial Wall in Cessnock. “If anybody ever wants to know the real price of coal, come and have a look at this Memorial Wall with the names of almost 1,600 coal miners from the Northern District alone. It is testament to the price CFMEU National Secretary John Maitland Central Councillors and the MUA pay tribute generations of coal miners and their addressing the Memorial Service on 4 April. at the Memorial Wall after laying wreaths. families have paid for fuelling the industrial development of our society. From left — Luke Van Der Meulen, Victoria; coal miners killed at work, John John Borlini, Western Australia; Chris Hinds, The community should never forget the Maitland reinforced that the Miners Tasmania; Ray Barker, Queensland; and debt they owe coal mineworkers”, he said. Union continues to be the cornerstone Shannon Gleeson, from the MUA. In the presence of NSW Mines Minister of all advances in health and safety in Kerry Hickey and a number of other State we will honour the memory of our fallen and Federal Labor MPs, John Maitland the mining industry. “It is fitting”, he said, “that as we comrades by fighting to ensure that the reminded politicians of the responsibilities celebrate the 150th anniversary of the rights and conditions they fought for are they have to ensure the highest standards and toughest enforcement of safety rules birth of mining unionism in Australia, achieved and that means an increasingly and regulations. our Union pledges to maintain the proud safer and healthier mining industry and With a tremendous turnout of retired traditions of those who have gone before that means continuing to take the ball mineworkers at the Memorial Service us. It is fitting that at this Memorial up to reactionaries like the Howard and in the presence of many relatives of Service and at this time we declare that Government”, said John Maitland. APRIL/MAY 2004 s COMMON CAUSE 5 Bellambi West Fatality – Coroner finds death of Greg Aspinall could have been prevented in clear breach of its legal support rules and the state of the O n 20 December 2000, underground miner Greg Aspinall was killed at the Bellambi West mine requirements. • The Department of Mineral remote mining equipment before giving approval. in the NSW South/West District as a Resources failed to properly police its (2) The Department of Mineral result of a partial roof collapse. The shift approval process for the introduction Resources should promote research co-ordinator, Justin Rowles, was also of pillar extraction and, in particular, into alternatives of recovering seriously injured in the fall. At the time failed to identify the recovery of an immobilised miners, including of his death Greg Aspinall was inserting immobilised continuous miner from remote recovery techniques. the first wooden roof prop as part of the under unsupported roof as potential (3) The Department of Mineral process of recovering an immobilised work risk. Resources should monitor underground miner in a pillar • And, significantly, in view of the management structures in extraction operation. There was no management changes that are companies to ensure compliance written work procedure for dealing with occurring in the industry, the with the letter and intent of coal the recovery of an immobilised miner in Coroner was critical of “parallel” industry safety legislation. pillar extraction. management structures that create Our Union has welcomed the It was an horrific Christmas for the positions such as “production co- Coroner’s findings and young Aspinall family. ordinator” that appeared to dilute the recommendations. We now wait to see authority of mine officers. what prosecutions will issue in relation A long wait for the truth to the accident and whether the The Inquest into the death of Greg The Coroner’s Department will implement the Aspinall commenced in July 2003 and recommendations Coroner’s recommendations. a report was not issued until 16 March In addition, to his findings Coroner The Union also wishes to express its 2004. The Inquest went for 11 days at O’Connor also issued recommendations. condolences to the family and friends of the Wollongong Local Court before His recommendations were: Greg Aspinall and to acknowledge the Coroner O’Connor. (1) The Department of Mineral fight for the truth waged by his wife The final report issued by Coroner Resources should further review the Sue and his father-in-law Graham O’Connor is a damning indictment of approval process for pillar extraction Lawrey. lax procedures and deliberate avoidance and should give particular – By Alex Bukarica of coal industry safety legislation by the consideration to the training, employer, Allied Coal. Many of the findings of the Coroner arise from a detailed investigation of the circumstances of the accident by Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) investigator Garth Sheehy. The Southland closes and Coroner, the NSW DMR and the CFMEU were all highly complimentary of the job done by Mr Sheehy, who, all entitlements paid unfortunately, is no longer with the The Northern District’s Southland mine closed on 18 March despite the best of Department. efforts to keep it going after a fire in late December caused it to be sealed. The Coroner’s findings Although the 90% owner of the mine, Gympie Gold, went into voluntary The main findings of the Coroner were: receivership shortly after the fire, the entitlements of all mineworkers were paid • Allied Coal failed to develop a Safe by the mine’s operator, Thiess. Work Plan (SWP) for the pillar Northern District President Peter Murray told Common Cause that Southland still extraction work method at Bellambi has an estimated 20 million tonnes of premium recoverable coal which is West, in clear breach of the law. presently commanding huge prices. “It would be a crime to sterilise these • Management failed to provide reserves and I’m pleased that the mine is currently on care and maintenance”, adequate training to Greg Aspinall said Peter. and other members of his crew, again 6 COMMON CAUSE s APRIL/MAY 2004 Union building strong presence at new Dendrobium coal mine I t is just over a year ago that our Union and BHP stood on the brink of a bitter industrial conflict as the company threatened to open its first ever non- union underground coal mine in Australia; at Dendrobium, in the NSW South/West District. BHP’s threat was in response to our Union’s refusal to give the company open slather at Dendrobium to attack conditions and standards in the coal industry. BHP said that if it did not get its way it would employ its entire Dendrobium workforce on non-union AWAs. Following a simmering revolt by its coal industry workforce and extensive discussions with our Union, BHP settled on a collective agreement and Dendrobium opened with conditions and standards negotiated with our Union. Today the mine is still in the Dendrobium Lodge President Michael Horner with District President Wayne McAndrew. development stage with a mining Mineworkers stalwart Fred Moore is in the background. workforce of between 60-70. When it is fully operational, Dendrobium will have union positions, Michael has been a Kembla, of course, is the site of a workforce of about 150. committed unionist who has embraced Australia’s biggest ever industrial Because of the Howard Government’s the challenge of building a strong disaster when 96 men and boys were rotten industrial laws, the company is miners union Lodge at Dendrobium. killed in a massive explosion just over a under no obligation to employ union He is ably assisted in this by the Lodge hundred years ago. The Union will need labour. However, as part of the Certified Secretary Troy Kowalski. to make sure that every safety rule and Agreement, the company cannot South/West District President Wayne regulation is observed to the full at discriminate against union members and McAndrew paid tribute to Michael and Dendrobium”, said Fred Moore. indeed the agreement provides for the Troy’s work. “They are both respected The first longwall block is being Union to attend induction courses for by their work mates and they both have developed by contractors and is not new starters who are briefed on the a great commitment to making sure that expected to be ready until some time benefits of belonging to the Union. the workforce at Dendrobium is well between April and June next year. The At present just over half the workforce provided for”. production workforce is mining a is in the Union and as the mine has Mineworkers veteran Fred Moore corridor between the old Nebo and developed so too has the proportion of said this was absolutely vital because Kemira workings with the old Mount union members in the workforce Dendrobium is one of the most Kembla workings on top. increased. hazardous mines in Australia. Fred, who With the tragic lessons of Gretley still The Lodge is led by its young will be 82 this year, worked at Nebo, fresh in the mind there is a 50 metre President Michael Horner who has had which is the section of the Dendrobium working cover from each side of the old about 10-years experience in the coal lease that is presently being worked. workings and a 30 metre cover above. industry, including stints at “The Dendrobium lease includes areas Little wonder then that safety is a top Queensland’s Collinsville, Kenmare, of the old Nebo, Kemira and Mount priority for the Dendrobium Lodge in North Goonyella and Moranbah North Kembla mines. I spent most of my such a hazardous operation that works mines. working life underground at Nebo and I 12-hour shifts on a four-on, four-off Although he has previously held no know the hazards we faced then. Mount roster, seven days a week. APRIL/MAY 2004 s COMMON CAUSE 7 Coal prices and revenues boom: Back to the heady profits of 2001 B Y P E T E R C O L L E Y, N AT I O N A L R E S E A R C H D I R E C T O R A fter experiencing falling Australian dollar prices and lower revenues for much of 2002 and 2003, the coal industry is now receiving skyrocketing prices for both coking and steaming coal. Export revenues are forecast to boom and most producers should see a return to good profit margins – perhaps even to the phenomenal levels of 2001 that were described as the best profits in a generation. The causes of this new boom situation are: • some supply-side discipline by major Australian producers; • strong Chinese domestic growth curtailing coal exports from that country; • overall strong economic growth in Asia; • South African exports effectively capped by export terminal limits; previous year. In the smaller coking Year benchmark prices were being set. • Indonesian production growing, but coal spot market Xstrata is reported to In simple terms it appears that not by a lot due to dropping off of have secured prices of well over growth in steaming coal prices has been foreign investment in that country; US$100 per tonne! far stronger than for coking coal. • lost production at some Australian However, this was recovery from a mines and rail/port limits at some A$ received prices also boom export ports. Australian producers have their worse decline. Coking coal prices held operating costs in Australian dollars up better. The benchmark coking coal US$ prices rocket (A$), so their profit margin is prices shown below are for BHP Newcastle port spot prices have passed Billiton and it is thought that other determined by the A$ received, not US$52 per tonne FOB and are still US$. The exchange rate is therefore producers are getting higher US$ rising. These prices are vastly higher critical. The following table shows how prices. than the spot prices of US$22 per tonne today’s A$ prices compare to those of A$ prices of over $58 per tonne for prevailing in September 2002. one year ago when 2003 Japanese Fiscal steaming coal are amongst the best ever So-called benchmark prices for steaming coal were around US$26.75 Mar 03 US$ Mar 03 A$ Mar 04 US$ Mar 04 A$ per tonne for the Japanese Fiscal Year @ US$0.60 @US$0.74 beginning April 2003. For the current year prices around US$42 to US$45 are Steaming coal contract prices US$26.75 $44.60 US$43 A$58.10 being settled. Steaming coal spot prices US$24.25 A$40.40 US$52 A$70.30 In coking coal, BHP Billiton appears to have settled prices for US$57-US$58 Coking coal contract prices US$46.20 A$77 US$57 A$77 per tonne FOB for the 2004 Japanese Fiscal Year – up from US$46.20 the Coking coal spot prices US$46 A$76.70 US$80 A$108.10 8 COMMON CAUSE s APRIL/MAY 2004 received and are on par with the best Profits up increases in US$ mineral prices. prices of 2001 when profits were huge. Estimated average FOB cash operating There is inevitably a significant costs for Australian coking coal mines degree of uncertainty in this. With the Export revenues to new high were around A$40/tonne in 2003. For decline of the benchmark pricing The Australian Bureau of Agricultural steaming coal mines the figure was a system (which always ripped off the and Resource Economics (ABARE) has recently issued forecasts for coal exports bit over A$32/tonne. Australian industry, but did provide (which are over 75% of production): At likely A$ contract prices for the certainty), with the US economy highly 2001-02 – $13.322 Billion. 2004 Japanese Fiscal Year the cash vulnerable, with crisis-prone crony 2002-03 – $11.896 Billion. margins are around A$37 per tonne for capitalism still widespread in Asia and 2003-04 – $10.912 Billion. coking coal and A$26 per tonne for with the threat of terrorism and 2004-05 – $14.082 Billion. steaming coal. These are very large cash possible SARS-type disease outbreaks, 2005-06 – $15.162 Billion. margins, though it needs to be we live in a very uncertain world. 2006-07 – $15.700 Billion. remembered that financing costs and tax But the current picture is that, after 2007-08 – $15.825 Billion. must come out of this gross cash margin. some belt-tightening by the companies 2008-09 – $16.038 Billion. It seems fairly clear that 2004 will see a return to very healthy profit in 2002-03, profits are set to return to In simple terms, a fall in export margins for the major producers. Even 2001 highs. And the fundamental shift earnings in 2002-2004 due to the rising A$ is expected to be counteracted by if the US$ falls in value (due to a global in the balance of market power from booming US$ coal prices. Coal exports loss of confidence in the US economy buyers cartels to the very large revenues are forecast to jump almost with its huge budget deficits and slow producers means that average profit 30% in 2004-05 and increase from job growth) the pattern now seems to margins are likely to be higher in the there through to 2008-09. be that producers are able to demand future than they have been in the past. Union membership up for Tips for taking digital photos for third time in four years Common Cause Common Cause loves getting digital Figures just released by the possible that there was an increasing images from our readers awareness among workers that union throughout Australia. Australian Bureau of membership helped people achieve Unfortunately, most of them are Statistics (ABS) confirm the higher wages, he said. not suitable for publication because number of union members Membership amongst males grew they are sent to us in a low from 1,045,400 to 1,051,100 while resolution format. has risen for the third time in female membership grew from If you are taking a digital photo for four years. 788,300 to 815,600. Common Cause, here are a few tips from Queensland had its third our graphic designers to assist you. Union members grew by 33,000 • Images from digital cameras successive increase in Union to 1,866,700 in the year to August should be the original high numbers with growth also in NSW, 2003, according to the ABS. resolution image, not a scaled ACTU secretary Greg Combet WA, Tasmania, and the ACT down copy. The file size should said that the figures showed a Unions achieved big membership be at least 200kb. modest increase in union increases in industries such as power, • When taking pictures for membership despite a big shift water and gas supply and transport publication, try to use a lot of toward more casual jobs and smaller and storage, finance and insurance light, preferably natural light. workplaces that made it harder for and government administration and defence but went backwards in • Try to fill the frame with more unions to retain members. subject than background. The data indicated workers were manufacturing, health and still looking to unions to win decent community services and • Keep the camera still. pay, reasonable job security and a accommodation, cafes and Images should be sent as high safe workplace, while it is also restaurants. resolution jpg files to email@example.com APRIL/MAY 2004 s COMMON CAUSE 9 Unions and Government combine to ensure Workers jobs and Union rights guaranteed in WA electricity restructure Our Union’s WA Secretary Gary Wood signing the Memorandum of Understanding with State Energy Minister Eric Ripper. have worked to develop and improve O ur Union in Western Australia has welcomed a written commitment by the State Labor Government that by the Australian Services Union (ASU), Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) and the existing policies. Western Power has also worked with energy workers jobs and entitlements Australian Manufacturing Workers the unions to develop a Staff Transfer will be guaranteed as part of new Union (AMWU). Policy that will allow staff to transfer electricity industry changes in WA. The Memorandum provides the between the Corporations for personal WA Secretary Gary Wood told following guarantees to workers: reasons, professional development and Common Cause that the existing Western • No privatisation of Western Power career advancement. Power structure will be reformed to assets; The agreement between the unions create four Government-owned energy • No forced redundancies; utilities dealing with retail, networks, • Western Power employees will not and the State Government also includes regional power and generation. have to apply for their own jobs; and policies on relocation, retraining, a fast However, this is presently being • Employees will be provided with an tracked grievance procedure, and the use blocked in the State’s Upper House by Entitlement Certificate at the time of contractors within Western Power. a combination of the conservative of restructuring. The Certificate will “Electricity reform is critical to parties and the Greens. But Gary Wood record important individual ensuring investment jobs and economic is confident it will go ahead. information such as salary and growth in Western Australia,” Mr “Naturally, when the restructuring classification levels as well as annual Ripper said. “But it also provides was first floated we were determined to leave and superannuation entitlements. Western Power with an opportunity to ensure that the futures of all Western WA’s Energy Minister Eric Ripper refine and modernise its industrial Power employees were secured”, Gary said the State Government had been relations practices”. told Common Cause. “To the credit of working with the unions through the The Minister said the Memorandum the State Labor Government it listened Union Consultation Committee (UCC). of Understanding was a demonstration to the Unions and now we have signed In 2003, the UCC travelled to New of what can be achieved when the a Memorandum of Understanding that South Wales and Queensland to provides cast iron guarantees to protect identify best practices for the transition Government, unions and Western workers jobs and conditions into the of staff to the new Corporations. Power worked together in the interests future”. He said the Government, energy of the workforce. Gary told Common Cause that along unions and Western Power A copy of the Memorandum of with our Union the Memorandum with management recognised the important Understanding is available at the State Government was also signed contribution made by employees and www.eriu.energy.wa.gov.au 10 COMMON CAUSE s APRIL/MAY 2004 Coal owners squabble over Port Waratah Coal Loader threatens miners jobs Peter Murray said that our Union O ur Union has called on the NSW State Government to sort out problems associated with the has put forward the following proposals to the State Government management and allocation of quotas at aimed at resolving the existing the Port Waratah Coal Loader before it problems and preventing a crisis that sparks a threat to Northern District could lead to significant job losses: mineworkers jobs. • An independent body with District President Peter Murray told transport, distribution and Common Cause that with coal ships allocation skills should be laying at anchor off the Newcastle port established to be responsible for reaching record numbers, coal shipping allocation, not the Port producers are fighting for allocations at Waratah Coal Services. the coal loader and telling the Union • The State Government should, as an that unless they get them, they will be interim measure, allocate some coal forced to curtail production and lay off Peter Murray through Port Kembla. It may mean workers. them looking at some royalties, but that could substantially increase that has been done before. “It has been raised by the MUA throughout by millions of tonnes • A third coal loader option, not that there have been serious more. They have cut jobs and played controlled by Port Waratah Coal mismanagement problems at the coal around with contractors. They’ve Services, may resolve issues in the loader, which is operated by Port tinkered with rail haulage with the long term, but without a significant Waratah Coal Services, which is owned result that there are fewer hoppers per capital injection into the rail by the big coal producers who sit on its train and more trains are required. Fair structure it won’t work. Board”, said Peter. “The Board dinkum, you’d think they had set out • The development of a stockpile area allocates quotas at the coal loader and to create problems instead of solving at Hexham, in which coal producers the concerns are that the big producers them”. have already expressed an interest. will favour their own companies. This Peter Murray told Common Cause that • As a direct stakeholder the Union has led to a number of smaller besides fixing the management should be given a Board position so producers complaining they will not problems at the operation the State as we can have input into what is a get a fair go and unless they do they Government needs to change the critical part of the Coal Chain. will have to cut production and lay off allocation and quota system. Peter Murray told Common Cause miners. “Under the present arrangement the that the present port congestion and “As usual, it is the mineworker on big producers dominate the system. the other problems associated with the job who employers expect to pay We understand that they can apply for the coal loader operation need to be the price of their incompetence but we their total quotas and if they are not addressed by all the stakeholders in will not accept it. The State fully utilised they can then trade the the industry. Government needs to address the real remainder. The big producers have the “We’re not claiming that the Union issues at the heart of the looming crisis whip hand. The smaller producers alone has all the answers. But what we and do something about it”. don’t have the stockpile facilities that are clearly saying is that any decision Peter Murray said that our Union the likes of Rio Tinto and Xstrata have made without our involvement and has submitted proposals to resolve the and the smaller producers also need to consideration of our members jobs problems and so far has had discussions get their coal out to maintain vital cash will result in a backlash. Our rank with Mining Minister Kerry Hickey. flows. They have less options than the and file will determine the However, the Minister for Rail and the bigger producers”, said Peter Murray, appropriate reaction to any failure on Ports, Michael Costa, has been nowhere “and this needs to be recognised”. the part of the employers and the to be found. The Union understands that there State Government to resolve the “Economic rationalist restructuring are genuine problems in meeting crisis. After all, it is our members by management has closed off access to demand at the coal loader with a record jobs that are on the line”, warned important facilities at the operation number of ships sitting off Newcastle. Peter Murray. APRIL/MAY 2004 s COMMON CAUSE 11 Union calls for support as decline in NSW Mines Rescue numbers causes concern By Les Yates, Northern District Check Inspector I t has recently been revealed by senior management from NSW Mines Rescue Service that the current numbers of brigadesmen available for active service is borderline. Over the next few weeks our Union will be writing to Local Lodges to seek the support of our members in maintaining this very important service to the coal industry. It is estimated that should a major prolonged event take place in any of our NSW mines, in particular the underground sector, there would be insufficient numbers to respond and other States Mines Rescue organisations would need to be asked for their assistance. There are a number of factors contributing to the downturn in the availability of brigadesmen which requirements under the Mines Rescue brigadesmen; include: Act to supply a percentage of the • Alternative ways in which training for • An ageing workforce who are retiring; workforce for mines rescue training. brigadesmen can be done to ensure • Current brigadesmen who have failed The Mines Rescue Service, in they remain current and up to date; their medicals; • Brigadesmen not attending their conjunction with industry groups, has • Recruitment drives to encourage regular training to keep themselves been working to try and overcome these younger mineworkers to volunteer for current and up to date; problems. Areas being looked at Mines Rescue Service training. • Ratio of mine officials to include: The Mines Rescue Service provides an production/engineering employees (as • Increasing the overall number essential service to our coal industry. It high as 3:1); of trained brigadesmen available is currently in need of your support to • Brigadesmen being unable to attend within New South Wales; increase the levels of brigadesmen and training due to work requirements; • Looking at utilising employees the ability to respond to incidents that • Some mines not meeting their current of contractors to be trained as occur in our industry. Colouring-in Winners Congratulations to the following winners of the February/March 2004 colouring-in competitions, who each receive a $20 prize and a set of CFMEU highlighters and stickers: Melanie Fitzgerald 11 Helensburgh South West District Jaiden Martin 2 Lithgow South West District Emily Mitchell 7 Jerry’s Plains Northern District Alex Webley 4 Traralgon Victorian District Jacqui Tucker 6 Blackwater Queensland District Carlee Ward 3 Bulli South West District Rebecca Hampson 11 Bonnell’s Bay Northern District Jack Fowler 10 Maitland Northern District Victoria White 12 Muswellbrook Northern District Bridget Dellabocra 8 Marrangaraa South West District Shannon Eastment 5 Walkerston Queensland District Hannah Page 4 Ilbilbie Queensland District 12 COMMON CAUSE s APRIL/MAY 2004 Rank and File Memo to ALP: Remember who your real friends are W ithin days of the Queensland Labor Government being re- elected in February, Premier Peter Beattie received a well-deserved dressing down from one of the coal mining communities most active rank and filers, Jacqui Barnes. Jacqui took issue with the Premier being associated with Rio Tinto subsidiary Pacific Coal receiving a community award. Jacqui’s husband Gary Barnes is President of the Blair Athol miners Lodge and is one of the victimised miners who has been out the gate since 16 Union members were unfairly dismissed on 21 July 1998. In a letter to the Premier after the awards were announced in November last year, Jacqui Barnes reminded Mr Beattie that she had been the ALP rank Some of the children of the victimised Blair Athol miners supporting their parents. and file activist who drove him around the Clermont community during his last visit there. She wrote: have been living for over five years. That and soul to the community. “During that visit you met some of amounts to six Christmases we have had “On the other hand, Rio Tinto have the retrenched miners from Blair Athol to endure with my husband out of work. an atrocious record in industrial and the members of their families. For It is one-third of my eldest son’s life and relations, human rights and most of those people it was their first half of my daughter’s life. Would you be environmental destruction. You don’t meeting with you and quite an honour. prepared to sacrifice such a large chunk have to look very hard to confirm this. It was a wonderful opportunity for all of your life for something that you truly “Your praise for this company has to inform you personally of the grief believe in? been taken by me as a direct kick in the and hardship that has been thrust upon “This award makes me sick! guts. I feel floored! If these are the them by the ruthless multinational “I work at the polling booth at every people who appeal to you, do you really company Rio Tinto. election for the ALP handing out ‘how think they will be out there on election “I was absolutely horrified to read of to vote Labor’ leaflets and supporting day doing the ground work and the Premier’s Awards highly the Party that I believe is for the handing out the ‘how to vote Labor’ commending Rio Tinto’s Pacific Coal working person. In fact, most of the leaflets? I don’t think so. But you can for its contribution to community life in people who work on election days for be sure that people such as ourselves, the large business category for excellence the ALP are the retrenched miners I the true believers, will be”, Jacqui in community business partnerships. refer to. They are true community wrote to the Premier. This company operates Blair Athol Coal minded people who dedicate their time And sure enough, Jacqui Barnes was Mine and Kestrel (Gordonstone) Coal. and efforts to be the backbone of the dead right. In a follow-up letter to the These have inflicted the most damage to community. They are the ones who go Premier days after the election she said: the communities of Clermont and out and get dirty and do the hard “I am writing to confirm the Emerald in their history. This company yakka. They sell the raffle tickets, help information I sent you in the previous should not be commended for anything the elderly, they fund-raise for the letter regarding the dedicated workers but their efforts to destroy communities. Cancer, Leukaemia Foundation, Red who manned the polling booths here in I know, as I have been directly affected Cross and the local Scout Group. These Clermont on election day. There was by them. They are directly responsible are the people who truly do deserve to not one Rio Tinto employee there to for our hardship and the nightmare we receive an award. They give their heart help return the Beattie Government”. APRIL/MAY 2004 s COMMON CAUSE 13 May 1854–2004: Celebrating 150 years of coal mining Unionism in Australia M ay this year marks the 150th anniversary of the first documented conflict in Australia’s history between striking coal miners and an employer using strike-breakers. While history records that there were earlier incidents of industrial action by South Australian copper miners in 1848 and by coal miners in 1850, it was the May 1854 strike by coal miners employed by the AA Company near Newcastle that set the scene for future industrial battles. The miners went on strike for an increase in the hewing rate from six- shillings to eight-shillings a ton. They were out for three-weeks and during this period the AA Company attempted to bring in strike-breakers from Melbourne to thwart the strike. The miners stuck to their guns and Miners at Central Queensland’s North Goonyella mine going on night shift in 1999. the company failed. The united miners won their increase in the hewing rate. association and was later elected to “While there was a certain This is the first documented evidence Parliament. Today, his statue stands in pioneering enthusiasm amongst them, of successful collective action by miners Newcastle in recognition of this miners they found their new employers and the in the face of an attempt by an union pioneer. ruling authorities no different than employer to defeat them with strike- Australia’s first coal miners were they had left behind. They found that breakers. For us, this is the period from convicts but as the colony began to they had to organise and fight for which we mark the birth of unionism expand the demand for coal increased everything. In this new land there were in Australia’s mining industry. and so too the need for coal miners. In no benevolent employers, the coal Former Miners Federation General his introduction to At the Coalface: the masters were as demanding and Secretary and distinguished Australian human face of coal miners and their exacting in Australia as they were mining historian Jim Comerford has communities, Common Cause Editor Paddy anywhere else in the world. written to Common Cause outlining Gorman writes: “Trade unionism emerged in the some of his preliminary research “By 1847, private interests mining industry in the 1850s and in findings into the birth of unionism in dominated the coal mines. Although May 1854 strike-breakers were first the coalfields. In this he pays tribute to there were still some convict miners in used in an unsuccessful attempt against the role of miners union pioneer James NSW, Tasmania, Queensland and Newcastle miners demanding higher Fletcher. Western Australia, the employers wages”. Fletcher was a Scottish migrant who arrived in Australia in 1852 and turned to ‘free’ labour from Britain and In a commemorative history booklet immediately began to organize the Ireland. produced in 1965 to mark the 50th workers. Jim Comerford sources “These new miners, as generations anniversary of the formation of the Fletcher at just 20-years of age being would after them, brought their own Miners Federation as a national union, elected leader of the AA miners in their legacies with them. The miners from former Common Cause Editor Edgar Ross successful three-weeks strike that Britain brought the tradition of wrote: kicked off in May 1854. centuries of struggle against coal “As far back as 1854 — before the Fletcher went on to become the owners while the Irish contributed Eureka Stockade — strike-breakers President of the first organized miners their own sense of rebeliousness. were used, but in spite of it the 14 COMMON CAUSE s APRIL/MAY 2004 Going on shift at the State Mine Lithgow in 1937. mineworkers were able to force an conditions left as a legacy of the days of Australia’s first coal miners — increase in the hewing rate from six convictism were the seeds of militant Convicts shillings to eight shillings a ton. unionism sown”. (From the Introduction by Paddy Gorman to “In the following year the Newcastle And it is from those seeds that our At the Coalface, the human face of coal miners and mineworkers struck again over wage Union has grown into what it is today. their communities) discrimination and the refusal of the owners to supply tools and lights, and In honouring the 150th anniversary of that historic miners conflict we remember too the contributions of all A s a penal colony Australia’s first coal miners were convicts. Working in the newly-established coal mines became as a result a flat rate was agreed to, with a fair distribution of work places, tools who followed them. The concluding the severest form of punishment. The and lights to be provided. section of the introduction to At the first group to commence the regular “Again, in 1857, the mineworkers Coalface put it this way: mining of coal in Australia were among “It is well acknowledged that those the 300 Irishmen who had taken part in successfully fought for improved who fail to learn from the lessons of the colony’s first white uprising at Castle conditions, receiving an increase of history are condemned to repeat the Hill (Vinegar Hill) in March 1804. The three pence per ton in the hewing rate. mistakes of the past. rebellion was quickly and brutally “1858 found the men still struggling “We must never forget that the crushed. Fifteen convicts were shot dead to raise their standards, calling for the in the uprising and the nine surviving decent working conditions and abolition of the iniquitous Master and reasonable community standards we leaders were hanged in chains. The rest Servants Act (under which miners were inherit today are the legacy of were sentenced to a maximum 500 lashes fined for absences from work, etc.), and generations who have gone before us and a minimum 200 lashes and sent to for improved legislation for policing and who were prepared to fight to Coal River, now Newcastle, to slave in safety and health. Attempts by the ensure a better future for all. Our the coal mines. Convicts were also used owners to reduce hewing rates were generation has an equal responsibility to mine the first coal in Tasmania at Port strongly resisted, as production in the to enhance our inheritance and leave a Arthur and Macquarie Harbour, which State climbed to 368,000 tons. similar proud industrial and social were both regarded as particularly brutal “Thus, in the heroic struggle to lift legacy to those who follow us.” hell holes. (continued page 16) APRIL/MAY 2004 s COMMON CAUSE 15 The closest we have come to a description of convict conditions is described in a document believed to have been written by one of the first convict coal miners and published this century (20th century — Ed) under the title Ralph Rashleigh. In his A history of the Miners Federation of Australia, Edgar Ross, former editor of Common Cause, quoted from the diary of Ralph Rashleigh who described conditions in the convict mines near Newcastle around 1820: “Their work was to fill the wagons with coal, drag them to the opening at the shaft’s foot and tip out the contents according to the direction of the man in charge there. They set to work The late Sally Sullivan who became the first female working coal miner to hold a Union position immediately, and continued without in NSW. Sally is pictured in May 1996 at the Ulan open cut with, from left, then Western District rest under the blows and curses of their Vice-President Wayne McAndrew (now South/Western District President); and Ulan Lodge taskmaster until night, when each man officials Bob Cain, President, and John Stegeman, Secretary. received a small portion of boiled maize grain, a morsel of salt beef, and water. “They slept naked in any part of the workings, the heat being so excessive that any clothing or covering only added to the misery of life. No bedding was provided, but those who were not too exhausted to make the effort could scrape together enough dust to make a comfortable sleeping place. The convict miners remained underground the whole week, and on Saturday afternoon were taken to the surface to wash themselves and their clothing in sea water. When their clothes were dry they were marched to the convict barracks, and confined there until Monday morning.” Miners pictured at the Bulli mine in the 1890s. Challenge to take part in Australia’s Roof Bolting and Coal Shovelling championships The Australian Roof Bolting and join them for an excellent day of Shovelling Doubles — Men Coal Shovelling Titles were held in competition, fun and festive activities 1. B Delosa / I Austin conjunction with the Rhodendron this year. 2. G Ryan / S McKinnon Festival at Blackheath at the end of last The major sponsors of the event were 3. I Austin / M Austin year in NSW. Centennial Coal and Family First Credit Shovelling Doubles — Women Organisers told Common Cause that Union. 1. L Durkic / K Nankeries. the day was very successful with locals For further information contact John 2. S Giles / A Austin. from surrounding mines in the Lithgow Tokoli on 0428 442 577. 3. N Giles Smith / A Austin. region and the NSW titleholders from The results from the most recent Wollongong competing. championships are as follows: Roof Bolting The titles are held on the first Shovelling Singles — Men 1. J Nankervis / G Nankervis Saturday in November each year and the 1. S McKinnon. 2. K Muldoon / W Morgan organisers would like to invite 2. B Delosa. 3. J Finlay / J Sammon competitors from near and far to 3. I Austin. 4. T White / D Edmondson 16 COMMON CAUSE s APRIL/MAY 2004 Moura Reunion planned for June I t has been 10 years since the era of underground mining finished in Moura. Overall there were five underground mines around the Central Queensland mining town of Moura – Kianga and the Moura mines numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4. The last of the five to close was the Moura No. 2 underground in August 1994. Out of Australia’s four biggest coal mining disasters in the past 30 years, three of them occurred at the Moura Coal shovelling competitors during one of Moura’s Town and Country festivals. mines. On 20 September 1975, 13 miners were killed in an explosion at the Kianga mine. On 16 July 1986, 12 mineworkers were killed in an explosion at the Moura No. 4 mine. And on 7 August 1994, 11 mine- workers were killed in an explosion at the Moura No. 2 mine. These tragedies forged a strong bond within the Moura community that gave an added sense of purpose and unity among the people there. However, mine closures and retrenchments took their toll over the years with many people forced to leave the town in All aboard for the kiddies Moura Express at one of the Moura Mineworkers Picnic Days. search of work elsewhere and many others taking early retirement. Despite the pain and suffering of the mine tragedies and job losses, the people of Moura determined to keep the community positive and active. Throughout the 1980s Moura became renowned for the Festivals and Family Picnic Days it organised (see pictures this page). Now the people of Moura are planning to welcome back those who left at a reunion planned for the Queen’s Birthday weekend in June. Former Moura mineworkers, their Some of Moura miner Toby Brown’s family at the 1986 Moura Mineworkers Picnic Day. families and friends are invited to For catering purposes the organisers • Max Robertson (07) 49971418; attend. would like people to register as soon as • Gwen Culley (07) 49973303; The organisers are seeking any old possible. To register, or for further • Gary Kunst (07) 49972553. photos, memorabilia, and stories to information about the reunion, please • Max Robertson can also be contacted enable them to put together a history contact any of the following: by email at: of all the Moura underground mines. • Vicki Caddell (07) 49973243; firstname.lastname@example.org APRIL/MAY 2004 s COMMON CAUSE 17 From Common Cause 25 years ago, April/May 1979 Miners Federation’s first women coal miners C O M P I L E D B Y A N N E S K I N N E R , N AT I O N A L L I B R A R I A N The Union and charged over participating in “illegal” street marches in Brisbane in I n April 1979 Common Cause welcomed the Miners Federation’s first two women members, who were engaged on December 1978 mysteriously had their fines paid before they could serve their surface cleaning duties at South jail sentences. The two had vowed not Blackwater. They were 18-year old to pay their fines as a protest against Lyndal Hunt and 22-year old Annette Premier Joh Bjelke Petersen’s Sparkes who started in the industry on 5 oppressive anti civil rights laws. But February. For both, a job at the Thiess when they turned themselves in at the South Blackwater mine meant a big rise Government’s attempts to hit workers Courthouse they discovered that their in pay. Annette had worked at the with a tax on subsidised housing was fines had been paid anonymously. It Blackwater Hospital as a domestic and brewing in April, with Treasurer John was widely believed that the coal said her job at the mine paid about $100 Howard keen to tax miners on the companies, fearing widespread a week more than she had been getting. difference between their subsidised stoppages and the loss of millions of Lyndall Hunt worked in a menswear rents and the market rate. The dispute profit dollars, paid the fines. shop and since her move to the mine was was to erupt the following year as the A delegation of retired members was getting “three times as much pay”. Central Queensland Miners Tax Revolt. The women’s employment followed sent to Canberra to lobby the Fraser Safety Government for the reintroduction of lobbying by the miners union of the Neville Price, the Lodge President at indexation for pensions. Mines Department “for the elimination Wallsend Borehole, was killed in an The union lobbied strongly against of the rule discriminating against underground accident in April. the processing and mining of uranium women”. Queensland District Check and the development of nuclear power A branch of the union was established Inspectors reported that the danger of at the new Norwich Park mine in generation in Australia. gas and coal outbursts were the main Central Queensland. International safety concerns for that State. In May the first Queensland Common Cause carried a report of the The Inquiry into the January fire and Combined Mining Unions conference disaster at Three Mile Island in explosion at West Wallsend opened. was held. The 2-day conference, The mine was still not operating. Pennsylvania, USA, where a reactor at attended by 60 delegates, resolved to A series of fatal accidents involving the nuclear power plant suffered a oppose Queensland Premier Bjelke- coal trucks in the Southern District partial meltdown and caused Petersen’s anti strike proposals, to prompted the union to call for a review international fear about the safety of oppose the mining and processing of of the regulation of heavy vehicles in the nuclear power generation. Notably, not uranium and to encourage all unions to area. Mt Ousley, Wilton and Appin a single nuclear power plant has been examine the possibility of amalgamations. roads were identified as particularly built in the USA since. A member of the Queensland hazardous, needing widening, resurfacing The vigorous debate about uranium District’s Board of Management, Des and increased police patrolling. mining in the late 1970s was in the Freeman, was elected mayor of Ipswich. The accident rate in NSW coal context of the world oil supply crisis. mining had doubled since 1970, it was The International Energy Agency, Industrial meeting in Paris in May, undertook to reported in May. The main cause of all In the first week of April, hundreds of lost time accidents were of the type burn more coal to curb the world’s miners at South Bulli were stood down “stepping on or striking against dependency on oil. and there were strikes at the Port objects”. New Editor for Common Cause Kembla and Balmain coal loaders. Negotiations over the union’s log of Political After six years as editor of Common claims continued but were not settled Two Federation officials, Queensland Cause, Pete Thomas announced his during April and May. District Check Inspectors Bill Allison impending retirement, making way for The big dispute over the Fraser and Jim Donaldson, who were arrested the youthful Paddy Gorman. 18 COMMON CAUSE s APRIL/MAY 2004 2004 Annual Central Council Resolutions The following are the Resolutions adopted by the next 4 years. In these circumstances there and unethical policies of these companies.” CFMEU Mining and Energy Division Annual can be no excuse for not sharing this – CARRIED. Central Council meeting held in the Union’s prosperity by employing more labour and National Office, 365 Sussex Street, Sydney, from reducing the need for excessive hours of Resolution No. 4 – 2003 5–7 April 2004. A copy of the Minutes of the work without reducing take home earnings. Financial Accounts meeting is available to members through your “Accordingly, Council authorises a public “Central Council receives and adopts the lodge/branch secretary. campaign demanding the employment of 2003 financial accounts of the CFMEU more labour. Employers have been quick to Mining and Energy Division as a true and Present at Council retrench workers when prices are low and correct account of the financial activities for National officials – Tony Maher, General now have no legitimate excuse not to hire the period ended 31 December 2003. President; Bruce Watson, General Secretary; labour now that conditions have improved. Council approves the signing of the and Reg Coates, General Vice-President. New jobs must be created which are based accounts by Tony Maher and Peter Murray Northern District – Peter Murray, John on full time direct employment and which and endorses the publishing of a summary Parkes, Ross Whitaker and Leigh Plunkett. will reduce unsafe and unreasonable in the next edition of the Union’s Journal South-Western District – Wayne working hours and provide job security. Common Cause in accordance with sub McAndrew and Graeme Osborne. “Council authorises expenditure from the section 274(2) of the Workplace Relations NSW Energy District – Allen Drew. Legal Development Fund to fund a Act.” – CARRIED Queensland District – Ray Barker, John campaign as well as an education campaign Noonan and Garth Walsh. on both the hours and jobs issues. Council Resolution No. 5 – Parallel Western Australia District – John Borlini. calls on Lodges to pursue both campaigns Management Structures Tasmania District – Chris Hinds. with management whether there are “This Central Council notes the serious Victorian District – Luke Van der Meulen. agreements in place or not.” – CARRIED. findings of the Coroner in the West Apology – Andrew Vickers, Queensland. Bellambi fatality concerning people outside Resolution No. 2 – Resolution No.1 – Hours of of the statutory management structure Psychological Testing giving directions to statutory officials and Work and Employment “This Council notes with grave concern the the workforce. Accordingly, Council directs “This Council endorses the National OHS increased use of psychological testing on the the National Executive to pursue Forum Report on the crisis in unsafe working workforce. Such tests are sometimes dressed up appropriate safety legislation that outlaws hours being required by employers. As a as safety behaviour or safety culture surveys. ‘parallel management structures’.” result of the removal of award provisions “Central Council accepts the independent – CARRIED. governing working hours, together with the expert advice that such tests are an ability to dictate conditions in new indication of employee performance or Resolution No. 6 – Polyurethane operations and the depressed economic safety performance. In fact, these tests are Injection for U/G Strata Control conditions of the last 8 years, employers have merely a thinly disguised attempt to weed “Following concerns raised by District ruthlessly exploited hours of work. out employees who stand up for themselves Check Inspectors on the attempt by “Council notes the important and fellow workers. companies and suppliers to increase the development in Tasmania where the “Accordingly, Council instructs all capacity of the residue and reduce the Government issued an order banning a 56- Lodges and sites to refuse to co-operate with hazardous zones when applying PUR, based hour 3-panel roster. This resulted any form of psychological testing. Should on overseas standards, it is recommended immediately in more employment. current agreements oblige employees to that lodges be aware that there is to be no “This demonstrates that State participate Lodges and sites should change from the existing Australian Government regulation is the only effective immediately contact their District officials standards for injection until a full and guard against excessive hours of work. to determine the most appropriate course. thorough investigation has been conducted Accordingly, Council calls on State Further, all future Certified Agreements by the Union’s District Check Inspectors Governments to introduce legislation and/or should be screened by District officials to and a report be tabled for consideration.” regulations which as a minimum contain: ensure that employee performance – CARRIED. • Daily and weekly limits which can only assessments do not contain the same be exceeded by agreement; psychological tests.” – CARRIED. Resolution No. 7 – Dust Levels • A 10-hour break between shifts; “Central Council acknowledges the issues • Meal breaks within 5-hours of the start of Resolution No. 3 – Company raised in respect to acceptable standards of shift and regular meal and /or rest breaks Codes of Conduct dust readings and monitoring in mines. thereafter; “This Central Council notes reports on “Whilst Council supports absolute • A requirement for ‘even time’ rosters for companies introducing codes of conduct minimum levels of exposure it also accepts all extended shifts which are equally aiming to control the private lives of that standards must be monitored in a applicable to contractors, non-unionists workers by requiring employees to seek manner that is sustainable to both the and other unions. company approval to participate in outside health of members and the ability to operate “Council also notes the extremely activities like charities, sporting, machinery in mines. favourable economic conditions facing the community and political organisations etc. “It is recommended that the relevant coal mining and iron ore industries with “Council condemns these policies and District Check Inspectors, in conjunction export prices reaching levels not seen since calls on the companies to immediately with the National OHS Forum, research data the 1970s. In these circumstances, mining revise their position. Should the companies and information to enable a paper to be companies are poised to make super profits not change their position Council instructs drawn up and discussed prior to supporting and revenues are forecast to grow to the National Executive to campaign any change to existing standards in relation to $16Billion of coal export earnings over the publicly highlighting the discriminatory dust levels and monitoring.” – CARRIED. APRIL/MAY 2004 s COMMON CAUSE 19 Court dismisses 48 of 49 charges against CFMEU as Howard’s anti-union building Taskforce takes a hammering T he farcical and anti-union nature of the Howard Government’s building industry Taskforce was well and truly exposed in the Sydney District Court recently when 48 of 49 charges brought by the Taskforce against the CFMEU and an organizer were dismissed by a Judge. The anti-union exercise is estimated to have cost the taxpayer around $100,000. The case began with dozens of charges against the CFMEU and its youngest organizer Joe Brcic and dwindled to one charge of unlawful industrial action at the finish. This had come about as the organizer mistakenly believed that protected industrial action notices were in place, where in fact there had been an administrative error. This point had already been conceded by the CFMEU in an Australian Industrial Relations Commission hearing earlier. In fining the CFMEU $2,000 for the technical offence, Judge Hughes was critical of the way that the Federal The CFMEU has called on the Federal Government to stop Government’s Taskforce had handled the case. He used the attacking the union and its delegates and to focus instead on word “provocation” in reference to the manner in which the industry issues such as the poor safety record of the industry Taskforce Inspector had handled the matter. with one worker being killed every week. REUNION Moura/Kianga QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY WEEKEND MAIN REUNION DATE 12th JUNE Photos and memorabilia most welcome. Old stories on paper also. CONTACT: MAX ROBERTSON (07) 4997 1418 email@example.com VICKI CADDELL (07) 4997 3243 RSVP 14TH MAY 20 COMMON CAUSE s APRIL/MAY 2004 Vale Mick Frame One of the Northern District’s most prominent citizens, Mick Frame, passed away on 17 January at the age of 92. Mick was a Rothbury veteran who went on to become a distinguished activist throughout the mining communities. For his services to the community Mick was awarded the Order of Australia and in 1996 he received the unique honour of being made a Freeman of the City of Cessnock. Mick Frame was the older brother of Coogan Frame, NSW State President of the Retired Mineworkers Association (RMA), and he was the younger brother of Alex Frame. The following tribute to Mick appears in the latest issue of the RMA newsletter. A packed church in Kurri Kurri on Wednesday 21 January heard former Minister in the Federal Labor Government Bob Brown present the eulogy to Mick Frame. Bob noticed that in the congregation were four former Federal MPs, two current Federal MPs and two current State MPs. A fitting representation for Mick. Mick started work in the mines at age 13; this was well before the age limit was set at 16. Mick retired at age 60 but continued an even busier life over the next 32 years. He was Deputy Mayor of the city of Cessnock, foundation chairman of the Richmond Vale Preservation Society with the museum, café and souvenir shop housed in the Mick Frame Museum Building. Among Mick’s other treasured possessions was his Premier’s Award for outstanding community service and his Local Government Appreciation Award. He treasured his memento for being a Rothbury veteran and recalled with pride all his life that he was one of the young miners protesting against the use of scab labour when police opened Mick Frame and his brother Coogan pictured on 26 November 1996, fire on locked-out mineworkers in the day Mick was honoured with the Freeman of the City of Cessnock award. December 1929, killing one, Norman Mick is pictured wearing his Order of Australia medal. Brown, and wounding many others. Mick loved his special award for to finish the “City to Cellar” fun run was one of the very best. service to the St John Ambulance and (from the city of Cessnock to the cellars While our community mourns for the past 40 years carried the leather at the Hunter Valley Vineyards). Mick Mick’s passing we are very grateful for first aid case made by the colliery did this at age 70. the wonderful legacy he has left us after saddler. Mick was also very proud of his Brothers Coogan and Alex have no a lifetime of commitment. award for being the oldest participant hesitation in stating proudly that Mick Vale Mick Frame. APRIL/MAY 2004 s COMMON CAUSE 21 Grants give green light for Collinsville Mining Heritage Centre A group of mineworkers coming off shift at Collinsville with the last two pit horses to work in the Queensland coal industry, Mr Ed and Wharrier. Mineworkers Club to help make the The Government’s contribution is T he Queensland State Government is to give a $100,000 one-off grant for the Collinsville Mining Heritage $1.36 million Mining Heritage Centre proposal a reality. being shared by the Departments of State Development and Natural Centre. This was announced by State “The Government support is Resources and Mining. Development Minister Tom Barton conditional upon the Council securing Natural Resources and Mines during a recent visit to Collinsville. the remaining necessary finance and Minister Stephen Robertson said The Queensland Government grant providing a satisfactory business plan,” Collinsville had a rich mining heritage of $100,000 is being joined with he said. and the project would help preserve $100,000 from the Mineworkers Trust Mr Barton said Bowen Mayor Mike that history. and $100,000 from the Bowen Shire Brunker was continuing to gain “The centre will link with other Council to completely fund the first corporate support for the project. mining industry tourism attractions in stage of the $1.36 million project. “This is an important regional the Collinsville region, including the The Collinsville Mining Heritage development opportunity,” he said. Scottville historic mine site and Centre is going to include a highly Burdekin Labor MP Steve Rodgers innovative, interactive display and said the project should provide a Collinsville Coal operating mine, as other audiotronic devices to provide an tourism boost to Collinsville, pointing well other themed destinations such as outline of life in the mines, the history out the town was only 140km from Mount Isa, Ravenswood and Charters of Collinsville and the recognition of Airlie Beach. Towers,” he said. the mining disaster in 1954, in which The first stage of the Mining The United Mineworkers Club in seven lives were lost. Heritage Centre is under construction Collinsville is still seeking further Mr Barton said the Government was at the United Mineworkers Club, donations and anyone who would like working with the Bowen Shire Council comprising a photo gallery and to assist can contact Arch Tudehope on and the Collinsville United multimedia history. (07) 4785 5238. 22 COMMON CAUSE s APRIL/MAY 2004 C.S.P.L. Board adopts New Definition of Employer in Coal Industry B Y R O N L A N D , C H A I R M A N , C O A L S E R V I C E S P T Y LT D In order to clarify and define employers in the coal industry and duties of employers workforces, the Board of Coal Services, by majority vote, has adopted a wide ranging and unambiguous definition of “Employer in the Coal Industry”. The lack of current and enforceable definition has led to the insurance division of C.S.P.L. (C.M.I.) being sued for damages by persons who have been killed or injured on New South Wales mine sites despite C.M.I. not having issued a policy to the company that has employed the deceased or injured workers. This situation has been brought about by amendments in 2002 to the 1987 Workers Ron Land Compensation and the 1998 Workplace Injury Management Acts which states: “The workers an activity referred to in paragraphs 3A(1)(a), compensation company is taken to be the insurer under 3A(1)(b), 3A(1)(c) or 3A(1)(d). this Act of all employers in the coal industry (whether or not any such employer maintains a policy of insurance (3) An employer of a person who enters a mine site or with that company)”. lease, coal preparation plant, coal washing or coal Accordingly, C.S.P.L. will now notify the NSW loader to maintain, operate or repair plant or Government of the requirement to amend the Coal equipment directly related to the mining of coal. Industry Act (2001) to accommodate the new definition (4) An employer of a person, or a class of persons which is set out below: employed in the black coal industry, where such “3A. “Employer in the coal industry” means: person or class of persons is prescribed for the (1) An employer who employs workers on a full-time, purposes of this provision. part-time or casual basis, under an oral or written (5) An employer of a person permanently employed on contract of service or apprenticeship and whose a full-time basis in connection with a Mines Rescue workers, in the course of such employment: (a) enter a mine site or lease, coal preparation plant, Service for the purpose of the coal industry the coal washery or coal loader to perform activities duties of whose employment require the employee directly related to the mining of coal; or to be located at a Mines Rescue Station. (b) enter a coal preparation plant, coal washery or coal 3B. The term “employer in the coal industry” does not loading facility not located on a mine site or lease to include employers not involved in activities directly perform activities directly related to the mining of related to the mining of coal. coal; or 3C. Employers in the coal industry may elect to be (c) are employed in the coal mining industry and the insured with the workers compensation company in duties of whose employment are carried at or about respect of their employees not referred to in section a place where coal is mined; or 3A. should the Board so decide. (d) transport coal on a mine site or from a mine site to a coal loading facility. 3D. Employers which are administration companies for (2) An employer who hires in the services of workers companies involved in activities directly related to (whether on a full-time, part-time or casual basis) the mining of black coal may elect to insure with where such workers, whilst so hired, are engaged in the workers compensation insurer”. APRIL/MAY 2004 s COMMON CAUSE 23 24 COMMON CAUSE s APRIL/MAY 2004 CFMEU Mining & Energy Division SUMMARY OF THE FINANCIAL REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2003 T he financial report of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union — Mining and STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION AS AT 31 DECEMBER 2003 2003 $ 2002 $ Energy Union (“the Union”) has been ACCUMULATED FUNDS 2,751,424 2,728,863 audited in accordance with the Represented by: provisions of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (“The Act”), and ASSETS the following summary is provided Cash and Investments 15,831,472 12,373,696 for members in accordance with Receivables 1,692,255 2,469,065 Section 279(2) of the Act. Funds Held in Trust 702,972 700,000 A copy of the Auditors’ Report and Stock on Hand 78,195 70,624 Financial Report will be supplied free Property, Plant and Equipment 1,345,581 1,639,063 TOTAL ASSETS 19,650,475 17,252,448 of charge to members who request the same. LIABILITIES Certificates required to be given Creditors 1,030,607 768,189 under the Act by the Accounting Provisions 2,692,160 2,351,249 Officer and the Central Council have Unexpended Funds 13,176,284 11,404,147 been completed in accordance with TOTAL LIABILITIES 16,899,051 14,523,585 the provisions of the Act and contain NET ASSETS 2,751,424 2,728,863 no qualifications. In accordance with the STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE 2003 2002 requirements of the Act, the FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2003 $ $ attention of members is drawn to the provisions of subsections (1), (2) and Contributions 5,914,827 6,303,262 (3) of Section 274 which read as Other Income 1,629,954 877,084 follows: 7,544,781 7,180,346 (1) A member of an organisation, Less: Expenditure 5,808,062 4,923,739 or a Registrar, may apply to the Unexpended Contributions 1,714,158 1,887,224 organisation for specified prescribed OPERATING RESULT FOR THE YEAR 22,561 369,383 information in relation to the organisation. AUDITORS CERTIFICATE (2) An organisation shall, on We certify that the above summary is a fair and accurate summary of the financial application under subsection (1) by a report of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union – Mining and Energy member of the organisation or a Division, for the year ended 31 December 2003. Our Auditors’ Report dated 5th Registrar, make the specified April 2004 on the Financial Report, did not contain any particulars of any deficiency, information available to the member failure or shortcoming as referred to in the Workplace Relations Act 1996. or Registrar in such a manner, and within such time, as prescribed. (3) A Registrar may only make an ……..……………………………. ……..……………………………. application under subsection (1) at DALEY & CO M L Gleeson — Partner the request of a member of the Chartered Accountants Registered Company Auditor organisation concerned, and the 98 Kembla Street, Wollongong NSW 2500 Registrar shall provide to a member Signed this 5th day of April 2004. information received because of an application made at the request of The liability of Daley & Co is limited by and to the extent of, the Accountants Scheme under the Professional Standards the member. Act 1994 (NSW). APRIL/MAY 2004 s COMMON CAUSE 25 For the Kids! Colour in Rag’s latest sketch and you could become one of our $20 prize winners. Send your entries to: Courtney Moss, Common Cause, PO Box Q1641, QVB Post Office, Sydney 1230. Entries must reach us before 26th May, 2004. NAME AGE ADDRESS POSTCODE WHERE YOUR RELATIVE WORKS 26 COMMON CAUSE s APRIL/MAY 2004 Teams Champions, from left to right – Gunther Schilko, Ken Roe, Steve McNaughton and Victor Matt with Rescue Helicopter General Manager Richard Jones. Left to right – Ron Stothard, Northern District Check Inspector; Robert Dunn, Veterans Champion; Ladies Open Champion Guy Kinkade, B-Grade Champion; Greg McMillan, Runner-up Stroke Champion; Kristine McMahon. Gary Chapman, C-Grade Champion; and, seated, Steve Thompson, Stroke Champion. Our Union’s National Golf Championship raises $8,144 for Rescue Helicopter Service FROM JOHN LINNERTSON, TOURNAMENT ORGANISER A total of 216 players competed in Australia Hotel, Ground Consolidation, Handicap winners were: the 2004 United Mineworkers National the Vintage Golf Club and Cypress A-grade – Greg Ely, Coal and Golf Championships held at The Oaks Lakes Golf Resort. Allied, 135, from Jamie Adamson, Golf Club at Cessnock, from March 9- The total raised was made possible by Mount Thorley, 143. 12. Competitors came from the the generosity of the participating B-grade – Bruce Chambers, Coal Northern, Western and Southern NSW players, the sponsors and the Rescue and Allied, 147, on a count back from mining communities and from Helicopter Cessnock Support Group. Geoff Lennard, Rix’s Creek, 147. Queensland. Steve Thompson, from the Hunter C-grade – Allan Brassington, The event raised $8,144 for the Valley Mine, with rounds of 76-71 (147) Warkworth, 152, from Paul Adams, Rescue Helicopter Service. won the stroke play title for the tenth Dartbrook, 153 and Veterans, John Magnificent support was again time in the 14 years the championship Linnertson, Cessnock, 149. provided by the major sponsors, the have been held defeating Dartbrook The Men’s National Teams Northern District CFMEU Mining and Mine’s Greg McMillan 77-72 (149), Championship was won by the Hunter Energy, The United Mining Support Russell Bunn 74-77 (151) and fellow Valley team consisting of Ken Roe, Services (UMSS) and The Oaks Golf Hunter Valley miner Ken Roe 76-75 Steve McNaughton, Gunther Schilko Club. The Warkworth Miners Lodge (151). and Victor Matt with 14-under par 58. made a magnificent donation of $5,000 Guy Kinkade from Walter Mining Handicap winners were also from the directly to the Rescue Helicopter Service took out the B-grade championship with Hunter Valley Mine – Rodney Pearce, during the tournament. 168, from Jim McMahon, Boal Bone on Chris Hewitt, Shane Kirkman and Ben Excellent contributions also came 170. Harris with a score of 53. from the Westcliff and Baal Bone Gary Chapman, Myuna, won the C- Kristine McMahon, from The Oaks, players. The championships were also grade championship with 190 from won the Ladies Open Championship well supported by the Lindeman, Briar Wambo’s Brian Davies on 192. with 88 from Coral Hall, Beresfilled, 95. Ridge, Rosemount Estate and Audrey Robert Dunn, Wambo, won the Handicap winner was Marion Wilkinson Wineries as well as the Veteran championship with 168. Crump, The Oaks, with 75. INTRODUCING FOR FIRST HOME BUYERS! Our New FIRST HOME LOAN Will Help You Open The Door Home prices have risen at a phenomenal pace everywhere in Australia. And a recent report estimates that 80% of young couples will find it extremely difficult to afford to buy their first home. Recognising that owning a home is a major part of the great Australian dream, Maritime Workers Credit Union is particularly pleased to announce the availability of our new product, The First Home Buyers Home Loan. Our product has been designed to assist our younger members who will welcome some of the features of this new product. Importantly too, this product gives the children and grandchildren of our existing members a great reason to join the Credit Union that has served their families for over 34 years! Look at these Special Benefits ✔ Our interest rate is currently 6.49% pa* (comparative rate 6.51% pa). This is .35% pa below our standard variable mortgage secured interest rate. ✔ We’ll lend up to 95% of the valuation or purchase price for homes, and up to 90% for land only. ✔ No penalty for early payout of your loan. ✔ A maximum fee recovery of $400, which includes the cost of solicitor’s fees and valuation. ✔ Borrow up to $750,000, over a maximum term of 30 years. ✔ Free Loan Protection Insurance (death cover) is included up to $120,000 of the total loans/overdrafts with us. To qualify for this loan, the applicant must be eligible for the Federal Government’s First Home Buyers Grant which your Credit Union staff can assist you to apply for. To find out more about how you can get into your first home under this special loan category, call any 1300 36 2000 or your nearest branch. Maritime Workers of Australia Credit Union Ltd ABN 11 087 650 315 AFSL 240399 * Rate correct at time of printing, subject to change. Terms and conditions fees and charges and special conditions apply.