Peabody dispute heard in Federal Fair Work Court

THERE has been no resolution to mounting tensions between Peabody Energy and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

The CFMEU took the mining company to Federal Fair Work Court in Sydney on Monday, with the hearing set to continue today.

This followed the announcement that 35-40% of the 525 workers would be made redundant at Peabody's North Goonyella mine.

Although Peabody called for expressions of interest for voluntary redundancies, the CFMEU allege they provided no consultation to workers on details of the redundancies, or explained exactly why 35-40% of workers needed to go.

CFMEU mining and energy division president Stephen Smyth said there was a lack of transparency in the process.

"The number (of redundancies required) they give is a 'rubbery' number. We don't think it's right," Mr Smyth said. "What they do sometimes is call for redundancy expressions of interest for say, 66 positions and they might get 55."

"They use it as a way to get rid of permanent workers, which they refill with cheaper labour hire and contractors."

The hearing at Sydney's Federal Fair Work Court on Monday ran until 10.30pm.

"Peabody has to provide more information, so the process continues Thursday," Mr Smyth said.

"We need information on why they need to lay off these workers."

While workers would have a ball-park figure to how much they would receive in a redundancy pay-out, Mr Smyth said they would not get specific details until after making the expression of interest.

A Peabody spokeswoman said it would meet Enterprise Agreement requirements.

"(It will) involve ongoing consultation including in relation to options to avoid or minimise involuntary redundancies," she said.

They would not comment further about the court case.

 


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