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Northern Mining & NSW Energy

NSW South Western




Western Australia


Same Job Same Pay: first applications and what’s next?

March 27, 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.

Callide Mine QLD

Our first application covers mineworkers employed by Workpac at Batchfire’s Callide mine at Biloela.

At Batchfire’s Callide mine, about 560 mineworkers are employed as production operators. About 40% are employed directly 60% are labour hire employed through Workpac. The pay differential varies depending on employees’ classifications, ranging from approximately $10,000 to $20,000 a year. If approved, the order would lift the pay of Workpac production employees to match Batchfire production employees.

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.

Mount Pleasant Mine NSW

Our second Same Job Same Pay application covers mineworkers employed by Programmed at Mount Pleasant mine near Muswellbrook, owned by MACH Energy and operated by Thiess.

At Mount Pleasant, Programmed labour hire production workers perform the same work on the same rosters on the same equipment under the same supervision as Thiess production workers.

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.

When will further Same Job Same Pay applications be made?

These applications are just the start. As the first applications, they will be closely watched. It is our hope that they will be dealt with promptly by the Commission and our intention to follow them with a steady stream of applications in recognition of the widespread use of labour hire across the industry. 

The order of applications will be determined by Districts in consultation with our national legal team, based on:

  • The circumstances at the site fitting requirements of the legislation
  • Density of union membership among the labour hire cohort and member support for the application.

We understand members’ interest in the timing of applications and appreciate your patience as we work through this new legal process.

Our message to all labour hire and contractor mineworkers across the industry is to get on board, join the Union, help us make strong Same Job Same Pay applications and return fairness to the industry.

We encourage members to talk to their labour hire workmates about joining the Union, or registering their interest in Same Job Same Pay so an organiser can follow up with them. (link to registration)

Please take the time to listen this explanation by our National Legal Director Adam Walkaden, about our initial applications and how the Same Job Same Pay process will work.


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