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Created Thu 16/02/2017, Last Updated Thu 16/02/2017

CFMEU defeats another shonky labour hire attack

The CFMEU has repelled another attempt by a shonky labour hire outfit to further lower the bar on rights and conditions in the coal mining industry by exploiting vulnerable contract workers.

In an important win in the Fair Work Commission, our Union successfully appealed against an earlier decision that would have granted Sparta Mining Services Pty Ltd the right to register a ‘national agreement’ that set a new low for labour hire contract workers in the industry, with a wage rate just 4% above the bare Award.

Basically, Sparta’s ‘agreement’ was struck with just three employees. These workers had been employed by Spartan Mining until the company went broke owing money. Spartan went out of existence on a Friday and like a Phoenix it rose from the ashes on the following Monday, this time with the letter n removed from the name of the company to become Sparta Mining!

The ‘new’ company struck a shonky deal with the same three employees and was back in business intending to use its cut-throat conditions to harvest new work in the Queensland and NSW South West coal mines.

When our Union heard that Sparta had applied to register its new national ‘agreement’ in the Commission we opposed it. However, the Commissioner ruled in Sparta’s favour and the CFMEU immediately appealed to a Full Bench of the Commission.

Fortunately, the Full Bench saw the shonky deal for what it was and sent it back to the Commissioner who then reversed her original decision and Sparta’s ‘national agreement’ was a shot duck and not a risen Phoenix!

This is another important win for the Union in the face of an onslaught by ruthless cost-cutting labour hire companies in our industry that are being used by the big mining companies in an attempt to further casualise the coal industry and undermine the benefits and job security of the entire workforce.

Download the Full Bench Decision