Non-permanent, less paid jobs taking over CQ mining industry
OVER the past five years, the mining industry has been moving more and more towards a casual or labour hire workforce all because employers have found a loophole in legislation.
This is what Federal Workplace spokeswoman Lisa Chesters told former Cook Colliery workers on Thursday when she met with eight of the 180 that lost their jobs in May.
"It's alarming to hear that labour hire as a proportion of a mine work force could be as much as 60% and some labour hire workers are paid as much as $80,000 a year less than their directly employed workforce," Ms Chesters said.
Her meeting with the men, who are still fighting for their entitlements from their previous employer Caledon Coal, came, towards the end of a three-day tour of Central Queensland mining towns.
She said discussed with workers, former workers and their families about labour hire, casualisation and insecure jobs.
"Increasingly, under the watch of regional LNP MPs like Michelle Landry, George Christensen and Ken O'Dowd, the jobs that remain are being made more insecure, through labour hire, casual and contract arrangements," Ms Chesters said.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said there were three issues here.
"The first is economic security - a thriving economy is what creates real job growth and security," she said.
"Wages during the mining boom were extremely high because of the laws of supply and demand, but they also proved to be unsustainable when demand and prices dropped. The best thing any government can do to help workers is support investment to grow the economy and create competition for workers.
"The second issue is casualisation of the workforce ... we ... have to address the reasons why industry turns to casualisation. The current full time employment conditions, forced on Australia by the influence of unions, are impossible for most industries to meet - not just mining.
"Any change to the Fair Work Act and associated State legislation needs to take this into consideration. If we are to realistically turn around the trend of casualisation, then the unions need to get on board and show willingness to compromise.
"The third issue is the legacy left by Labor who did private deals with big companies, creating a very uneven playing field for workers and business. More and more workplace agreements are being exposed where deals were done by big business and big unions. Labor is always quick to turn up to the picket line and pretend they are all for workers, but remain silent on these deals."
Ms Landry pointed to the Royal Commission into Trade Unions to back up her comments about the third issue involving non-permanent, less paying jobs in CQ mines.