Australia: Peabody locks workers out of colliery again

Monday, 21 October, 2013

Miningaustralia.com is proving a rich seam (ho ho) this morning. Here's a piece on how Peabody Energy has locked workers out of the Helensburgh Metropolitan Colliery (not for the first time) as disputes continue concerning a new enterprise agreement.

This is the second shutdown this month as a result of industrial action initiated by the Australian Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), blamed pretty squarely by the Peabody spokesperson for the outcome: “[Peabody Energy] will idle the mine until the CFMEU and bargaining representatives are willing to remove the current disruptive working restrictions... Peabody Energy has been bargaining in good faith throughout the negotiation period, and has put forward numerous offers that are fair and reasonable." 

One small irony in all this is that the corporate responsibility section of the Peabody Energy website unusually gives 'Employee Responsibility' top billing along with the more usual community and environmental concerns, and committing the company to "building a world-class workforce by rewarding excellence, reinforcing lifelong learning and offering growth and advancement opportunities."

The commendably detailed CSR report that can also be dowbloaded from the site also contains teh following passage on Employee Relations:

"Peabody fosters a spirit of collaboration and innovation, offering employees career growth opportunities and financial rewards linked to the company’s safety, operational and financial performance. A career with Peabody is one of the highest-paid and highest-skilled jobs in the communities where Peabody operates. An average U.S. coal miner earns about $81,200 a year, compared to the average U.S. worker who earns $47,815. In Australia, the average mining industry weekly pay – the highest among all industries – is more than $718.80 greater than the next highest sector, financial and insurance services, according to the Australian government’s Bureau of Statistics." Between the idea and the reality... falls the shadow.