A year on from the cancellation of the enterprise bargaining agreement covering maintenance workers at Griffin coal, a new draft agreement that covers production workers at Griffin is threatening to drop wage levels even further.
Some workers are fearing lower rates at Griffin will spread to workers at rival mine Premier Coal.
Union members from both coal mines will meet tonight at the Miners Institute in Collie to discuss options for negotiating with the two companies.
Last year community members, Griffin workers, Member for Collie-Preston Mick Murray and Shire of Collie CEO David Blurton gave evidence to a senate inquiry hearing held in Collie about the effect the agreement cancellation had on the town.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union State Secretary Steve McCartney believes the uncertainty around Griffin has led to unwillingness for other employers to negotiate fairly.
He said the threat to workers at Premier that they could face a cancelled agreement like Griffin workers was an unfair advantage to that company.
“We’re sick of seeing employers exploiting the uncertainty to drive down wages,” he said.
“When major employers are allowed to exploit loopholes in the system to damage not just individual wages but the whole regional economy to this degree, the union will stand strong with these members and their families. “The community need to pull together at the moment and send a message that Collie won’t be treated like this.
“If the proposed agreement that covers production workers at Griffin Coal is voted up then we anticipate that this will not only lower the floor on wages and conditions at Griffin but will also have a knock on effect for all workers at Premier Coal who are in the process of renegotiating their enterprise agreement and this will further the economic pain the town is suffering”
Community protests were staged around the cancellation of Griffin’s agreement last year, a situation which saw dozens of employees take a pay cut after being put onto the Black Coal Award.