Our Campaign

Our Campaign

The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 passed through the Senate on 7 December 2023.

The Mining and Energy Union has been campaigning hard to build support for these changes in the community – and to push back on the BS being pushed by big corporations.

We launched our own advertising campaign and we went on the road to make sure regional communities around Australia understood why the changes are so important.

Follow our Campaign

Spreading the word about Same Job Same Pay

30 Apr 2024

As the first hearings for Same Job Same Pay applications get underway, our Organisers are on the ground talking to workers about what it means for them.

Mining and energy workplaces are spread far and wide across Australia and our Organisers do thousands of kilometres each year travelling to worksites and talking to workers about building strength through the Union. Recently the team have been out encouraging workers to get organised through the Union to prepare as many worksites for Same Job Same Pay applications as possible.

We spoke with a couple of Organisers who have been out at the sites where there are active Same Job Same Pay applications, including at Callide Mine at Biloela in Queensland Mount Pleasant mine in the NSW Hunter Valley to hear what it’s been like on the ground.

Read here

First applications and what’s next?

27 Mar 2024

The MEU has lodged our first two Same Job Same Pay applications, under new laws to prevent labour hire workers being paid less than permanents for performing the same work. There are many more to come. Here’s what you need to know about the applications and what comes next.

Our first applications were at Callide Mine at Biloela in Queensland Mount Pleasant mine in the NSW Hunter Valley. These two locations were selected as appropriate first cases with a high chance of success due to their typical labour hire arrangements. The MEU intends to make many more applications in the months ahead.

Under the new laws:  

  • Applications for Same job Same Pay must be made to the Fair Work Commission.
  • The Commission then determines whether to issue Same Job Same Pay orders, triggering a requirement to pay a ‘protected rate of pay’ in line with the host employer’s Enterprise Agreement.
  • Pay rises due to Same Job Same Pay these and any future orders would come into effect on 1 November.

Read more here

First in NSW: MEU lodges Same Job Same Pay application for Programmed workers at Mount Pleasant

Mar 20 2024

Mt Pleasant mine

The Mining and Energy Union has today lodged a Same Job Same Pay application for Programmed labour hire mineworkers at the Mount Pleasant coal mine in the NSW Hunter Valley. 

If successful, the application would result in pay rises of approximately $30,000 to $40,000 a year from November. 

It is the first application in NSW and the second nationally under new laws to prevent labour hire workers being paid less than permanents for performing the same work, where a site enterprise agreement is in place. 

Read more here

MEU lodges first Same Job Same Pay application with more to follow

Mar 13 2024

The Mining and Energy Union has today lodged the first Same Job Same Pay application at a Queensland coal mine, under new laws to prevent labour hire workers being paid less than permanents for performing the same work. 

The MEU’s application to the Fair Work Commission covers mineworkers employed by Workpac at Batchfire’s Callide mine at Biloela in Central Queensland. 

Callide is the first mine subject to a Same Job Same Pay application, but many more will follow, said MEU General President Tony Maher. 

“Callide has high union membership among Workpac labour hire mineworkers and the strong support of their permanent workmates for a fair go at the site.

“But labour hire exploitation is rife across the mining industry nationally; and we are already preparing our next applications. 

“We intend to have many applications made and approved by the FWC to deliver higher pay.”

Read more here

Same Job Same Pay becomes law

Jan 8 2024

Just before Christmas, on 7 December 2023, the Albanese Government passed the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill.

This was the final hurdle of our long campaign for fairer laws for labour hire mineworkers.

This outcome could not have been achieved without the full support and hard work of our members, who have long recognised the exploitation of labour hire in the mining and energy industry.

The Closing Loopholes Bill has been split, with Same Job Same Pay passing at the end of last year alongside other important measures like the criminalisation of wage theft and industrial manslaughter, and stronger rights for workplace delegates.

The Same Job Same Pay provisions passed provide a mechanism to prevent companies paying labour hire workers less than permanent employees doing the same job, where an Enterprise Agreement is in place at the work site.

The MEU will now focus on making sure these new laws deliver for workers across the mining and energy industries.

Petter Dutton and the Coalition kick the can down the road on Same Job Same Pay

Nov 9 2023

BREAKING: Petter Dutton and the Coalition have just voted to delay the Closing the Loopholes Bill in Parliament.

In a motion moved by Shadow Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Michaelia Cash in the Senate today, the Coalition have blocked any early reporting of the Closing Loopholes Senate Inquiry.

With only on hearing left to go, they have also added an additional hearing on 22 January, further delaying the process.

That means it will take longer for Same Job Same Pay to become law.

Peter Dutton is kicking the can down the road for Same Job Same Pay to help out his big business mates.

However, we’ll keep campaigning until the laws pass both houses of Parliament and start lifting wages for labour hire workers.

QLD coal mineworkers provide evidence to Senate

Nov 1 2023

Yesterday we attended the Senate hearing for the Closing Loopholes Bill which travelled up to Rockhampton to hear from regional Queensland workers.

The MEU Queensland District was joined by representatives of the Electrical Trades Union and the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union.

We have used this opportunity to boost the voices of labour hire workers to share their lived experiences, and to tell Senators how the labour hire loophole impacts them and their communities.

Mining bosses the real victims?

Oct 12 2023

The Senate Inquiry into the Closing Loopholes Bill is underway and Australian mining bosses with their world-beating profits have tied themselves in knots explaining how they are the real victims here.

Leading the pity party was Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) CEO Tania Constable. Here are 5 highlights (or lowlights) from her evidence.

1. Labour hire miners getting their fair share?

According to Constable, labour hire workers in mining are actually paid more than direct employees. Say what?

In our experience, labour hire workers in coal mining typically earn $30,000-$40,000 less per year than directly employed workers doing the exact same job.

When pressed about when labour hire workers would get their fair share at a time mining profits are rapidly outstripping wages growth, Tania Constable insisted: “They are already getting their fair share.”

2. … but new laws will still cost billions?

Question of the day was from Senator Tony Sheldon when he asked:

“So, if they’re not getting paid less, why are you putting out there in the media that there’s billions of dollars extra that the mining industry will have to pay? On one hand you’re saying that there’s labour hire getting paid more, but then there’s also an additional cost of billions of dollars. That, to me, just simply does not make sense.

Same, Senator.

3. Mining companies have spent ‘tens of millions’ fighting fairer work laws

If you’ve seen their ads in the media, driven past one of their billboards, or received one of their dodgy mass texts this statement won’t shock you.

Still, it’s remarkable how quickly Constable admitted to spending a fortune on confusing ads and spam texts, especially for an organisation so concerned with the new laws costing members’ money.

4. … just don’t ask who is paying

In contrast, Constable remained tight-lipped when asked exactly who is funding their campaign. Responding to the question of “who do you work for?” with the steel resolve of a spy being interrogated, Constable only gave up that the campaign was approved “across the board” and that the biggest backers were the MCA’s “tier one members”.

No prizes for guessing who these backers may be.

5. ‘We don’t intend to stop until this Bill is stopped’

The MCA have made it clear they’ll continue to pump out confusing ads about lettuce pickers and bludging workers until the Closing Loopholes Bill is withdrawn. Mining companies are on a good thing with their labour hire rort, and they’re not going to let concepts like ‘fairness’, ‘genuine collective bargaining’ and ‘sharing record profits’ get in the way.

Unfortunately for the Minerals Council, we don’t intend to stop campaigning either.

Hearings are continuing and MEU members will participate in an upcoming hearing in Rockhampton, stay tuned for more details.

Closing Loopholes Senate Inquiry kicks off with a doozy

Oct 3 2023


“Seems” like they’re doing the same job.

The first Senate Inquiry into the Closing Loopholes Bill is today and we pulled out this gem from the 48 pages of hot air in the Minerals Councils’ submission.

However, beyond their alarmist drivel the underlying attitude of large mining companies towards labour hire workers is clear.

You can literally be doing the same job as someone else – driving a truck – but you’re treated as a second class citizen and that’s reflected in your pay.

This is why we need to close the labour hire loopholes.

We’ll continue to make sure members’ voices are heard as the inquiry continues and keep members updated on the progress of the bill.

Fake Phil stars in latest business ad

Sep 11 2023

Closing the loopholes for South Coast workers

Sep 11 2023

Wollongong workers turned out on Friday night to talk about new Closing Loopholes Bill and how it would lift wages for labour hire workers and crack down on wage theft.

Ashleigh Mounser talked about the widespread problem of wage theft affecting young workers and Tahmoor coal miner Mark Bryant talked about the labour hire rort across the District and the need for Same Job Same Pay. Stephen Jones MP reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to fairer laws and stronger rights for casual, gig and labour hire workers .

The Coalition are delaying Same Job Same Pay  

Sep 8 2023

The Liberals and Nationals have voted in the Senate to delay the Closing the Loopholes Bill in Parliament until next year. That means it will take longer for Same Job Same Pay to become law. 

Rather than moving quickly to close the loopholes that are allowing mining companies and other big corporations to get away with paying labour hire workers less than permanent employees, the Coalition’s move means big business will be allowed to exploit the loopholes and fear-monger for even longer.  

It’s a classic case of the Coalition, led by the Shadow Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Michaelia Cash, doing the dirty work of big business instead of doing the right thing.

Stay tuned – we won’t let the Coalition and the business lobby’s BS about the impact of closing the loopholes go unmatched…

Same Job Same Pay laws hit Parliament

Sep 4 2023

Big day.

Same Job Same Pay laws have been introduced to Federal Parliament.

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke today tabled the Closing Loopholes Bill in the House of Representatives. The Bill stops employers paying labour hire workers less than rates agreed in an Enterprise Agreement at a host company, where the same work is performed. It enables workers and their unions to seek a Same Job Same Pay order through the Fair Work Commission.

This is an important moment in our campaign – but the Closing Loopholes Bill still needs to get through the House of Representatives and Senate! 

We’ll keep campaigning until the laws pass both houses of Parliament and start lifting wages for labour hire workers. 

Miners talk loophole impacts to pollies

Aug 28 2023

Three years ago two miners, Simon and Ron, filmed a video talking about the impacts of the labour hire loophole. 

Simon is a permanent worker, Ron is a labour hire worker. They do the same job at the same mine, but as you’ll see in the video, the conditions they work under are very different. 

Watch the video here.  

Recently, both Ron and Simon attended the ALP National Conference in Brisbane, stood in front of a room full of politicians and told them that since the video was filmed three years ago nothing has changed. 

Ron still doesn’t have job security and despite having decades of experience he still doesn’t get the other basic entitlements available to Simon. 

The Federal Government has committed to closing the labour hire loophole and fixing things for workers like Ron through the introduction of Same Job Same Pay legislation, but it can’t come soon enough.

If you’ve got a story about how the labour hire loophole impacts you, tell us here. The more stories we have, the greater chance we have of getting politicians of all stripes to listen and act.

Straight from the Minister’s mouth

Aug 14 2023

Last week the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Tony Burke wrote the below piece about the loophole allows companies to pay labour hire workers less, undercutting Enterprise Agreements and driving down wages.

The Albanese Government has promised to change that and we’ll keep campaigning until it’s done.

These workers walked off the job calling for Same Job Same Pay

Aug 8 2023

Labour hire coal miners have walked off the job in NSW calling for Same Job Same Pay.

CH4 workers at Appin and Dendrobium mines are trying to get a fair enterprise agreement.

But mine operator South32 dictates terms and conditions for contractors – and they’re much lower than permanents.

Well done to MEU members at CH4 for standing together and taking protected action.

Have you spotted any of our billboards yet?

Aug 2 2023

We’re committed to getting our message out about closing the labour hire loopholes.

That’s why you’ll start to see Same Job Same Pay billboards in and around mining communities – and we’re starting in various NSW regions which will be some of the biggest beneficiaries from Same Job Same Pay laws.

What makes a casual?

Jul 27 2023

The MEU supports the Federal Government’s announcement that they will legislate a definition of casual work that reflects its intended nature as non-regular and on-going employment. 

This change would restore the legal principle established by our Union’s landmark cases against WorkPac, which determined that ‘permanent casuals’ employed in the coal mining industry on regular full-time hours with rosters set up to a year in advance were not genuine casuals. 

This important principle – and hopes of compensation for many coal miners employed incorrectly as casuals – was overturned by the Morrison Government. 

Along with ‘Same Job Same Pay’, establishing a definition of casual in the Fair Work Act based on working conditions and not words in a contract is an important step towards closing legal loopholes which have allowed labour hire workers to be exploited in the mining industry.

Talking Same Job Same Pay with Hunter Valley workers

Jul 26 2023

Last week we took our Same Job Same Pay campaign to workers in the Hunter Valley.

Labour hire workers in this region will be one of the biggest regional beneficiaries from Same Job Same Pay laws. 

Latest data from Coal Services shows that in the NSW Northern District coalfields, 43.2% of open cut and 21.9% of underground coal miners are contractors, rather than direct employees. 

Dan Repacholi MP joined us at various Lodge meetings in the Hunter Valley to talk about where the legislation is up to and how closing the labour hire loopholes will help wages rise!

What it’s like being a QLD coal miner on $40,000 less a year

Jul 20 2023

Brodie gets paid $40,000 less a year working as a labour hire mineworker in Queensland compared to direct employees.

When Brodie applied to become a permanent employee, he was told he wasn’t suitable for the job – the job he is doing right now.

What rubbish.

Companies aren’t offering permanent jobs to workers because they can’t do the job or because they don’t have experience.

They are simply using labour hire loopholes to drive down their wages bill.

Rockhampton Launch

Jul 12 2023

It was a glorious day in sunny Queensland to launch our campaign in Rockhampton!

But do you know what’s not so sunny? Having 27,000 mineworkers across Queensland in precarious labour hire roles.

The MEU is committed to getting the message out into regional Queensland about how this legislation will benefit workers and their communities.

Workers in Queensland can expect to see our ads across TV and social media during this stop of the campaign, and we’re going to keep talking to workers about why we need to stop big companies using loopholes to undercut permanent pay and conditions.

Big thanks to Senator Nita Green for supporting the campaign launch.

Another swing and a miss from Big Business…

Jul 5 2023

Confused? Us too.

Our biggest mining companies are using labour hire loopholes to pay thousands of mineworkers less than permanents.

So why are their ads against Same Job Same Pay set in a fake nursery? If they reckon they can’t justify what goes on in the mining industry they’re probably right.

NBN News Covers our Campaign in the Hunter Valley

Jun 24 2023

The meeting made it onto NBN news, ensuring the whole Hunter community knows that when it comes to closing labour hire loopholes, we stand together.

Watch this space for upcoming events on our roadshow!

Big Dan Joins our Campaign

Jun 23 2023

Upper Hunter MP Dan Repacholi – a former mineworker and Olympic shooter – has committed to backing our campaign over the coming months.

Dan met with our Cessnock delegates to hear their concerns about the way the loopholes are dividing communities and undermining wages.

The meeting made it onto NBN news, ensuring the whole Hunter community knows that when it comes to closing labour hire loopholes, we stand together.

Watch this space for upcoming events on our roadshow!

Tom Red working his magic!

Jun 8 2023

No! ‘Same Job Same Pay’ means we will never get to implement our plan to pay some workers extra for their performance!! Dang! We have never done it before, but were just about to!

Tom Red working his magic!

Jun 7 2023

Please take this time to reflect on how hard these last few weeks have been for Australia’s richest business owners….

Big Business Fires Blanks

Jun 5 2023

Within weeks of our launch, employers hit the airwaves with a bizarre campaign that appears to be dedicated to convincing Australians their workmates are useless bludgers.

Hysterical headlines whined that the laws would cost them billions – serving to underline how much these massive corporations are reaping from the loopholes.

The BS inspired Tom Red to come up with his own #honest versions of the ads and media commentary.

Canberra Launch

May 31 2023

We went to Canberra for the national launch of our campaign as part of a worker delegation where we got to eyeball MPs and tell them why these changes are so important.

The response from the Government was that they are serious about delivering on their election promise, while cross-bench Senators like Jacqui Lambie and David Pocock were keen to understand how the laws were working on the ground.

While we were talking with them, the ads came on their office tele – sending them the message that this is a campaign we are determined to win.

We’re Closing the Labour Hire Loopholes

May 30 2023

The MEU has launched a TV advertising campaign to let the public know why the Same Job, Same Pay laws are so important.

Big corporations have been using loopholes to drive down wages, creating a second class of workers in labour hire who are paid less for doing the same work as those on the EBA.

Closing the loopholes is good for everyone: except the corporate profit machines!