July 1, 2005
Union rejects Solid Energy’s claims
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union is rejecting claims that it has mislead coal miners over negotiations for a new national employment agreement.
“Suggestions by Solid Energy today that the union has failed to properly inform its members about a pay offer from mining companies, and that it has ‘directed’ members to take industrial action, are wrong and we take exception to them,” said national secretary Andrew Little.
“The decision to take limited industrial action at Huntly East, Rotowaro and Stockton mines was made by the workers at those sites because they did not like the offer the companies had made. It’s called democracy. The union takes very seriously its responsibility to keep members informed, especially around something as important as industrial negotiations.
“Union officials never, ever direct members to take industrial action. That is a decision that can be made by only by the workers themselves.”
Mr Little said that the talks around the coal mining agreement had been long, tense, and complicated, with the companies making a range of offers which could be interpreted in different ways.
“We are working hard to try and resolve this situation as quickly as possible,” Mr Little said.