AMSJ » Qld coal workers avoid losing up to $100K due to negative ‘feedback’
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Qld coal workers avoid losing up to $100K due to negative ‘feedback’

Blackwater Coal Mine
Blackwater Coal Mine

Mine employees will not need to waive their entitlements, because there were too many complaints.

About 300 workers will retain perks at Whitehaven’s Blackwater (226km west of Rockhampton) and Daunia (170km southwest of Mackay) coal mines.

The decision came after management received very negative feedback about proposed WorkChoices agreement offsets that reportedly absorb future superannuation increases, and strip those affected of up to $100,000 in accrued entitlements. This was feared to affect those planning to retire or accept a redundancy package.

“We have heard your feedback about the guarantee of annual earnings clause and the potential for this to remove entitlements that people currently enjoy. This is not Whitehaven’s intent,” Whitehaven executive general manager – operations Ian Humphris said in an internal email.

Humphris revealed his employer would change contract wording that could be used to remove workplace entitlements.

“Whitehaven will be issuing a contract amendment to remove the guarantee of annual earnings clause. This will ensure all transferring Blackwater and Daunia staff can continue to enjoy their current entitlements once they become Whitehaven employees. Whitehaven will also apply this to open cut overseers,” he said according to the Collieries’ Staff and Officials Association (CSOA).

CSOA congratulated employees on an “incredible win”.

“Workers were given just seven days to sign new offers, which stripped them of a range of conditions or face termination without redundancy pay. Whilst Whitehaven has now agreed to honour the transfer of entitlements of 300 staff, and we thank them for their cooperation, this matter highlights a real risk in the industry,” Queensland organiser Zac Gallagher said in a public statement.