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Created Tue 31/01/2017, Last Updated Tue 31/01/2017

CFMEU to fight FWC decision to strip millions from coal employees redundancy pay

The CFMEU today pledged to use all its resources to fight “a shocking” decision by the Fair Work Commission on Friday that would cost tens of thousands of coal industry employees hundreds of millions in lost earnings.

CFMEU National President Tony Maher said that the Full Bench Commission ruling caps coal industry employees’ redundancy entitlements at a maximum 15-years of service. “It would take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the pockets of coal mine employees to fatten the bottom lines of some of the most profitable and powerful mining companies in the world”.

Up to now, coal industry employees redundancy pay has been calculated at two weeks pay for every year of service if they are retrenched. There was no cap on this entitlement and for decades it has been the industry norm. Now, however, once an employee reaches 15-years of service, they can no long accumulate any further redundancy benefits. For employees with more than 15-years employment, their existing benefits are frozen and they can no longer accumulate redundancy pay.

Tony Maher described this decision as “appalling”.

“There is no rationale given by the Full Bench for this far reaching decision. It is a straight grab from employees pockets to the bank balances of the mining companies.

“It is a decision that not only deprives employees of fair benefits at a time of retrenchments but it will impact significantly on many regional economies where these mine employees and their families live and spend their money. It is an absolute disgrace.”

Tony Maher said that the decision applies to all employees throughout Australia covered by the coal industry award, not just CFMEU members. “It will cost employees throughout Australia hundreds of millions in lost earnings and for what? – to swell the bloated coffers of mainly foreign multination companies that ship  the vast majority of their profits overseas.”

Tony Maher said that the CFMEU is meeting with its lawyers to consider an appeal against the Full Bench decision. The CFMEU’s Central Executive will be considering further and additional responses at its meeting.

Media contact: Elisa Fernandes 0438 021 203

Related story: http://cfmeu.com.au/coal-industry-employers-seek-to-reduce-redundancy-pay-–-union-fights-back