January 17, 2019
Wongawilli Colliery mineworkers have achieved victory against Wollongong Coal, after a nine month campaign that culminated in strike action before the company agreed to settle.
They began a seven day strike on Monday because they were determined to negotiate a fair enterprise agreement at the site where the 100% casualised workforce were employed on individual contracts. They also had the lowest pay rates in the district.
They took a strong message to the company: Ripped off but fighting back.
The strike ended swiftly when the company agreed to return to negotiations, and an enterprise agreement with wages and conditions that are consistent with other sites in the district was agreed. District Vice President, Bob Timbs, described the win as a “crystal clear example of union power”, where workers have won by joining their union at the previously un-unionised site and flexing their collective muscle.
General President Tony Maher emphasises the importance of this win. “The conversion of permanent, well paid jobs into poorly paid, insecure jobs is a huge issue right across the country. What this win proves is that the trend is reversible. If labour hire workers join their union, we can turn this around.”