Early morning community protest at Griffin Coal | photos, video

Members of the Collie community have continued to voice their displeasure against changes to workers conditions at Griffin Coal by staging a community protest early on Friday morning. 

The unprotected action started as dawn broke, halting workers from accessing the mine for more than an hour. 

In June, the Fair Work Commission approved a decision that saw 70 maintenance workers receive a 43 per cent pay cut and shifts change to seven days on and three days off and seven nights on and four days off. 

Protesters told the Mail the new shifts are putting unnecessary strain on local families. 

“These workers might as well be doing FIFO,” one protester said. 

“The time they spend away from their families works out to be much the same and it’s not healthy.

“The women are left at home to pick up the family slack while the men slave away, unsure how safe their next pay check is.

“You have to worry for their mental health.”

Another protester spoke about the rosters having an effect on the wider community. 

“With seven days on it makes it really hard for the workers to be involved in normal community activities – such as coaching local sport,” the protester said. 

“They miss out on the chance to socialise and become part of the fabric of our community.” 

A third protester voiced serious concerns about safety standards inside the mine site. 

“Sooner rather than later someone is going to die and Griffin Coal will have blood on their hands,” the protester said. 

“Lanco is an Indian company forcing Australian workers to do their job at Indian work standards.” 

The group blocked the car of a shift supervisor who repeatedly said he respected the right for the protesters to make a point but hoped they would let him and his staff through in respect of their need to do a job. 

“This business has to run and we have never missed a pay cheque,” he said. 

“You can make a point but it’s not fair to stop the staff accessing the work site.” 

The protest ended when Collie Police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Mike Dean arrived to ask the crowd to move away from the road, which they eventually did.