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Northern Mining & NSW Energy

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Western Australia

Mt Pleasant mine


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

March 20, 2024

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. 

The MEU last week lodged an application to the Fair Work Commission covering mineworkers employed by Workpac at Batchfire’s Callide mine at Biloela in Central Queensland. 

The Mount Pleasant mine near Muswellbrook, which is owned by MACH Energy and operated by Thiess, employs some of its production workforce through labour hire provider Programmed. If approved, the order would lift the pay of Programmed production employees to match production operators employed under the Thiess Mount Pleasant Operation Enterprise Agreement. The pay differential ranges from approximately $30,000 to $40,000 a year. 

MEU Northern Mining and NSW Energy District President Robin Williams said the Union was committed to making as many successful applications as possible. 

“These are new laws so we are focused on selecting and running cases we believe have the highest chance of success,” said Mr Williams. 

“Mount Pleasant is a classic example of the labour hire rort where Programmed labour hire production workers perform the same work on the same equipment under the same supervision as Thiess production workers. 

“We will do everything possible to make sure the new laws deliver pay increases to labour hire workers as intended, but there is a legal process to follow that will take some time.”

Mr Williams said MEU members have campaigned for many years for new laws to prevent mining companies using labour hire to drive down wages. 

“The tide is turning. Our message to all labour hire and contractor mineworkers across the industry is to join the Union, help us make strong Same Job Same Pay applications and return fairness to the industry.” 

Applications for Same job Same Pay are made to the Fair Work Commission. The Commission then determines whether to issue Same Job Same Pay orders, which trigger a requirement to pay a ‘protected rate of pay’ at a site, preventing employers from using labour hire workers to undercut pay rates agreed through bargaining. Pay rises would come into effect on 1 November 2024. 

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