||Issue No. 246||12 November 2004|
How It Comes To This
Interview: The Reich Stuff
Economics: Crime and Punishment
Environment: Beyond The Wedge
International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Politics: Labo(u)r Day
Human Rights: Arabian Lights
History: Labour's Titan
Review: Foxy Fiasco
Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
The Locker Room
Boss Rejects AWA
The AWA's "Fair Treatment Procedure", states the worker can be "represented by another person at any time during the process", but when miner, Brett Tamatea, chose the CFMEU the company choked.
Unions claim Tamatea, who works at the Cadia Hill Gold Mine near Orange, has been singled out for a written warning because of his active membership of the CFMEU Mining Division.
Now, in a groundbreaking move, the CFMEU is asking the state IRC to conciliate a dispute concerning a worker covered by a federal AWA.
Newcrest has moved to have the proceedings dumped, claiming the NSW Commission does not have jurisdiction.
AWAs are supposed to be monitored by the Office of the Employment Advocate but the credibility of that organisation has been questioned by workers and unions.
The office was repeatedly referred to as the "Office of the Employers Advocate" by employer witnesses appearing before the Cole Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry.
"This just shows how useless the Office of the Employment Advocate really are and that they don't protect workers," says a spokesperson for the CFMEU Mining Division.
"This is a company that is totally anti-union," says Russ Collison, NSW secretary of the Australian Workers Union, who also have members at the Cadia Hill mine. "This issue is about state jurisdiction and what the commission can do."
Unions claim that if the move in the state jurisdiction is successful it will be of benefit to all workers.
Nat Plays With Miners Lives
Meanwhile the Miners Union accused the NSW Shadow Minister for Mineral Resources, Adrian Piccoli, of "playing with miners lives" after he called for a rejection of new legislation that would make mine management more accountable for health and safety.
CFMEU Mining and Energy General President Tony Maher said that the Shadow Minister, a member of the National Party, would have "blood on his hands" if he succeeded in blocking the new OH&S Legislation (Workplace Fatalities) Bill 2004.
"This Bill provides for negligent mine management who are responsible for death and serious injuries to be held to account," says Maher. "Piccoli claims that this will result in a crisis for the NSW mining industry as no one will want to work as a mine manager if they are accountable for negligent actions.
"This is absolute rubbish. Calling negligent managers to account can only make for a safer mining industry and as a consequence a more productive industry.
"In the history of the NSW mining industry more than 3,000 workers have lost their lives and we had to wait until this year before individuals were convicted for the first time for negligence. This case involved the deaths of four coal miners killed in the Gretley mine eight years ago this month.
"Adrian Piccoli would do better to be concerned about the lives and welfare of the thousands of miners who work the State's mines and not the handful of irresponsible managers who for years have been literally getting away with murder."
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