September 29, 2023
MEU members at Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (“WICET”) in Gladstone are taking industrial action this week to close a growing gap between their wages and the industry standard.
In a ballot conducted earlier this month, there was 100% support for various forms of protected industrial action such as work stoppages, bans on non-rostered overtime and bans on using various pieces of equipment, systems and tasks.
MEU bargaining representatives have been engaging in extensive negotiations to bring WICET remuneration closer to the industry standards and to keep pace with cost-of-living pressures.
However, following 15 meetings with company representatives over 8 months, the Union believes that not enough progress has been made.
“Workers who operate and maintain fixed and mobile equipment at the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal receive pay far behind comparable coal terminals in Queensland.
“WICET Employees receive about 20% less than the coal terminal directly next door in Gladstone with that gap getting greater every year,” said Queensland District Vice-President Jeff Scales.
“When considering the limited growth of WICET employees’ wages over the last four and a half years, our members believe that a 13% pay increase over three years with a sign-on payment, will go some of the way toward addressing what can only be described as wage suppression. What our members are seeking is more than reasonable.
“Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal workers have been critical to the massive profits posted by some of largest mining companies that operate in Queensland and globally, yet we see a significant lag in the pay packets of their Employees at the coal terminal.
Wiggins Island Coal Terminal is jointly owned by Glencore, Yancoal and Coronado. All three Companies have posted massive profits over the last two years, including Glencore’s 198% increase on its 2021 profit.
“It is ludicrous that these companies, whose representatives sit on the Coal Terminals board and determine what pay increases WICET Employees receive, can post such massive profits and not provide a wage that addresses the previous wages suppression and cost of living pressures for workers who are critical to delivering these Companies record profits.
“By taking industrial action, workers are sending a strong message to WICET’s board, management, and the owner companies that they are willing to take a stand for a comprehensive enterprise agreement inclusive of pay increases to address previous wage suppression, cost of living pressures and working toward closing the gap on the industry standards for Coal Export Terminals in Queensland.”
MEU members started action with on-going work bans on Tuesday and are determined to continue until they secure a better deal.