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Northern Mining & NSW Energy

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Western Australia

Christmas blow for Cook coal miners

December 18, 2019

Nearly 200 coal miners at Central Queensland’s Cook Colliery received the devastating news they were out of a job this week, with the mine going into administration.

With less than a week to Christmas, workers were left stunned as they were told to ‘go to your camp rooms, pick up your belongings and leave’.

With the mine locked, some tradesmen still have their tools on site and can’t retrieve them.

Cook has been owned by Bounty Mining since 2017, but the majority of the workforce is contracted out on labour hire to ABM, UGM and others – with just 40 direct employees.

The Union has been in contact with the administrator and labour hire employers and will take all possible steps to support members caught up in the closure.

Some workers told the Union they found out the mine had closed from the camp bus driver.

Queensland District President Stephen Smyth said the closure was a terrible blow for workers and the Blackwater community in the lead up to Christmas.

“It is a double blow because many of the workers are labour hire casuals, meaning they won’t receive entitlements.

“The labour hire business model means that companies can just wash their hands of workers’ entitlements when they go under and turn jobs on and off as it suits them and their corporate maneouvring. It’s a disgraceful state of affairs.”

Indications are that the Cook Colliery’s wash plant will continue to operate as it also services other mines.

Cook Colliery has had a chequered history. The mine produces quality coking coal but has shut down and changed owners on a number of occasions and has recently experienced flooding and roof collapses.

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