December 1, 2021
Coal miners at Queensland’s Grosvenor mine were traumatised by an underground explosion 18 months ago. Since then, they’ve been getting organised and have now formed our union’s newest Lodge.
In May last year, five miners at the Anglo American mine near Moranbah were horrifically burned in a methane explosion at the longwall tailgate.
After an 18-month journey something good has risen out of the ashes of that terrible incident.
Our latest podcast tells the compelling story of how the Grosvenor miners, who are all labour hire workers, stuck together and are ready to take on One Key, Anglo and the labour hire business model.
New Lodge President Steven Hall said that since the new Lodge was officially formed on 31 October, it had received strong support from the Grosvenor workforce with new members joining daily as well as from surrounding Lodges.
“It’s amazing, the support we are getting from other Lodges in the area – Goonyella Riverside, Moranbah North and Grasstree just to name a few – they have just been so supportive and we are really thankful for that. It makes you feel like you’re in a team, it makes you feel stronger.”
A priority for the new Lodge is really getting to the bottom of what happened last May, when an explosion left five miners with severe injuries.
“You can’t imagine the pain the boys on the face went through,” says Steven. “To have it happen to your friends, to people you know, is really traumatising. The boys that went to their rescue, they are going to remember seeing their friends on fire, having to put them out physically with their own hands.”
While the site of the explosion has been sealed and the causes of the explosion may never be known for sure, the Lodge is committed to making sure members can raise any concerns they have.
New Lodge Secretary Scott Jensen said the labour hire workforce at Grosvenor wanted to work directly for Anglo, with permanent jobs.
“I’m a strong believer in ‘same job same pay’. Other Anglo mines are primarily employed by Anglo whereas we at Grosvenor are 100% employed by One Key and the pay differences are huge.
“The labour hire model is a joke. There’s no job security and it leads to a lack of people that are willing to stand up and ask questions for fear of reprisal and retaliation.
“As a Lodge we are going to be fighting for permanent shirt for as long as it takes.”
District President Steve Smyth said the formation of the Lodge was a remarkable achievement: “It’s fantastic that these men and women have stood up, prepared to stand their ground, have a collective voice and they’re all labour hire employees or subcontractors – particularly in the environment that they’re working in and against a pretty hostile employer.”
Congratulations to our new Lodge!