Change District


Northern Mining & NSW Energy

NSW South Western




Western Australia


Spreading the word about Same Job Same Pay

April 30, 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.

Buff, Unite Team QLD Lead Organiser

Buff Staker is leading a team of Organisers in QLD where there is an application currently underway at Callide Mine. Buff says that the team are having conversations with workers at Callide but are also laying the groundwork at other worksites for future applications.

He says that workers have been engaged and responsive and more workers are joining the Union to get behind Same Job Same Pay applications.

“Our conversations about Same Job Same Pay are generally well received.

“Of course we get some variability depending on who you’re speaking to or a particular crib you’re in front of but overall, there is good awareness of the new laws and people want to know more about it.

“We’ve had some positive moments where we walked into a crib room and people come up and say they already joined using a QR code on the wall, and those moments are always great.

“With Same Job Same Pay, were doing what we always have done, which is have meetings with people, whether it’s on site, at camp or at the Union office.”

Buff says that an important part of the conversations the team are having on the ground is explaining that Same Job Same Pay does not kick in automatically.

“We really need to stress to workers that what the new laws mean is that the Union now has the power to apply for Same Job Same Pay orders and argue our case for those orders before the Fair Work Commission on a site-by-site basis.

“To apply, we will work with members to collect information about pay, shifts and work allocations in order to make the strongest applications possible, backed by the facts so we need them to come on board during this process.

“We’re talking to workers about how the MEU will prioritise applications at sites with high rates of membership among labour hire workers so that we can run organised applications.

“Having the backing of the workforce is the key to improving our collective position.

“Same Job Same Pay will improve our industry for permanents and labour hire, and ultimately it will help dismantle the dodgy labour hire model and increase the proportion of permanent jobs in our industry.

Buff says the Union encourages all coal mineworkers to get involved and help win Same Job Same Pay at as many worksites as possible.

Kerry, Unite Team Northern Mining and NSW Energy Organiser

Kerry Konieczny, a new Organiser for the Mining and Energy Union (MEU) in the Northern Mining and NSW Energy District, has been making significant strides in organising workers around the Same Job Same Pay, with a particular focus on the Mt Pleasant Mine.

Kerry’s efforts have resulted in a notable uptick in membership, driven by the overwhelmingly positive reception she’s received when discussing the union and the Same Job Same Pay Laws with workers.

“When we approach and speak to workers about Same Job Same Pay, it’s very well received, and people are often up for a chat!” Kerry enthusiastically shared.

“We’re finding that there is a good amount of interest, and we’ve even had some workers reach out to ask when we’ll be coming around to their worksite.”

She emphasised the importance of providing a listening ear for workers and addressing any questions or reservations they may have about these new and complex laws.

“Even just providing more information about what the union is and what we’re about, and what the new Same Job Same Pay laws mean for them has been well appreciated, I feel.”

Kerry, drawing on her 22 years of experience in the mining industry, highlighted the benefits of face-to-face conversations with workers, especially for those new to the industry who may not be fully aware of their rights.

“It’s amazing sometimes when we’re able to tell people about certain rights that they didn’t know about, or what safety inspectors (ISHR’s) do, and they’re able to discover new great things about their work through the Union.”

Kerry sees Same Job Same Pay as an excellent opportunity to engage with more labour hire and contractor workers, advocating for fair representation and pay equality across all types of employment within the industry.

“We need to continue to embrace labour hire members and contractors because all workers deserve to be represented and have someone in their corner, especially since we work in such a risky industry.”

Membership growth, Kerry believes, is crucial, as it signifies more voices advocating for workers’ rights in the industry. She expressed excitement about the prospect of more people standing together through the Union.

Recognising the increasing number of women entering the industry, Kerry has made engaging women members a priority.

“As a union, we want to be representative of the workforce, so we’re out there talking to labour hire, contractors, new-to-industry workers, and women who are increasingly entering the industry.”

She mentioned the popularity of stickers bearing the slogan “A woman’s place is in the union,” even among male workers.

Kerry looks forward to more positive conversations during what she considers a very exciting and significant time for the Union, as they continue to advocate for fair treatment and representation of all workers in the mining and energy sectors.

Go team!

For more information about Same Job Same Pay

To register your interest in a Same Job Same Pay application at your worksite

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