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Australia coal terminal faces more labor action

Sunday, 12 February 2012 | 00:00
Australia's Port Kembla Coal Terminal south of Sydney said Friday it faces a series of further strikes that threaten to backlog thermal and coking coal exports.
About 100 unionized workers are due to return to work Saturday morning following a 48-hour strike. The action began with a seven-day walkout that ended early Wednesday.
Peter Green, general manager of the terminal, said the Construction, Forestry, Manufacturing and Energy Union has given notice of a possible 48-hour strike beginning Sunday, a 12-hour strike from Wednesday and another 24-hour strike from Saturday.
"Despite our continued participation in good faith bargaining and commitment to further discussions with our employees, the CFMEU intends to continue industrial action which is unnecessary and unhelpful in trying to resolve the issue effectively," Green said.
He said the union was seeking rigid job security measures at a time when the operator of the terminal is upgrading facilities, which will ensure continued employment.
Bob Timbs, CFMEU district vice president, said the union has offered a skeleton staff to unload up to 50,000 metric tons of coal from trains for a unit of Peabody Energy Corp. BTU, provided the work is done within 14 days.
"The union understands that as a result of workers' protected stoppage action, coal stockpiles have reached a critical level" at the Helensburgh colliery, Timbs said.
The terminal, which is managed by BHP Billiton Ltd. BHP, exports coking and thermal coal from the Southern and Western coalfields of New South Wales state for BHP, Peabody, Banpu PCL BANPU.TH, Gujarat NRE Coking Coal Ltd. GNM.AU and Xstrata PLC XTA.LN.
The terminal has offered workers a 4.3% annual wage increase, shy of the 4.5% demanded by the union, which has said talks have faltered over its call for greater job security. The company has said the union wants to extend the agreement to cover middle-management level employees such as accountants and engineers.
Timbs said the union would consider requests from other companies to handle coal.
BHP is caught in another industrial dispute in Queensland state's Bowen Basin. Three unions representing roughly 3,500 workers have threatened a seven-day strike at seven coking coal mines co-owned with Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. 8058.TO as negotiations over a new workplace agreement remain deadlocked.
Australia's Port Kembla Coal Terminal south of Sydney said Friday it faces a series of further strikes that threaten to backlog thermal and coking coal exports.
About 100 unionized workers are due to return to work Saturday morning following a 48-hour strike. The action began with a seven-day walkout that ended early Wednesday.
Peter Green, general manager of the terminal, said the Construction, Forestry, Manufacturing and Energy Union has given notice of a possible 48-hour strike beginning Sunday, a 12-hour strike from Wednesday and another 24-hour strike from Saturday.
"Despite our continued participation in good faith bargaining and commitment to further discussions with our employees, the CFMEU intends to continue industrial action which is unnecessary and unhelpful in trying to resolve the issue effectively," Green said.
He said the union was seeking rigid job security measures at a time when the operator of the terminal is upgrading facilities, which will ensure continued employment.
Bob Timbs, CFMEU district vice president, said the union has offered a skeleton staff to unload up to 50,000 metric tons of coal from trains for a unit of Peabody Energy Corp., provided the work is done within 14 days.
"The union understands that as a result of workers' protected stoppage action, coal stockpiles have reached a critical level" at the Helensburgh colliery, Timbs said.
The terminal, which is managed by BHP Billiton Ltd., exports coking and thermal coal from the Southern and Western coalfields of New South Wales state for BHP, Peabody, Banpu PCL , Gujarat NRE Coking Coal Ltd. and Xstrata PLC .
The terminal has offered workers a 4.3% annual wage increase, shy of the 4.5% demanded by the union, which has said talks have faltered over its call for greater job security. The company has said the union wants to extend the agreement to cover middle-management level employees such as accountants and engineers.
Timbs said the union would consider requests from other companies to handle coal.
BHP is caught in another industrial dispute in Queensland state's Bowen Basin. Three unions representing roughly 3,500 workers have threatened a seven-day strike at seven coking coal mines co-owned with Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. as negotiations over a new workplace agreement remain deadlocked.
Source: Market Watch
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