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Industrial Relations LATEST NEWS New South Wales

Coal producer lifts salaries after employees complain

Appin Coal Colliery
Appin Coal Colliery

A mining multinational improved remuneration following negative feedback from workers.

South32 recently increased employee salaries at its Illawarra Metallurgical Coal (IMC) operations.

“A new four-year industrial agreement covering deputies at the Appin mine was finalised subsequent to the end of the quarter,” the proponent said in its latest quarterly report.

The Collieries’ Staff and Officials Association (CSOA) earlier claimed the proponent could afford to improve wages, incentives, rosters and leave entitlements. This was because South32 already pays $4.3 million a year to chief executive officer Graham Kerr, and $2M to chief operating officer Noel Pillay.

“Despite workers turning the mine around from a loss-making enterprise into one that has made a US$1.38 billion (A$2.13B) profit this year in just 12 months, South32 continues to refuse to offer a fair pay raise or a production bonus,” CSOA lead organiser Belinda Giblin said in a public statement.

“They expect the workers who made the mine a success to be content with a pay rise that – after inflation – essentially amounts to a pay cut. This is completely unfair and has also been unacceptable to workers.”

The association eventually lodged a bargaining dispute with the Fair Work Commission.

South32 responded by temporarily disabling parts of the mine, expressing disappointment that employees rejected its “highly competitive” 6.3 per cent pay rise.

IMC production also dropped 33 per cent during the September 2023 quarter, partly due to an extended planned longwall move at the Dendrobium mine.

“2024 financial year production guidance remains unchanged at 5M tonnes with production volumes expected to be weighted to the second half of fiscal 2024 (FY24), reflecting the expected duration of planned longwall moves across the year (two in the second quarter of FY24, two in the fourth quarter of FY24),” the report said.

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