Strikes continue at Australia's Port Kembla coal terminal
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 | 11:00
Australia's Port Kembla coal terminal faces more strike action this week, which is likely to slow coal and coke exports from the terminal, a union spokesman said on Monday.
BHP Billiton-operated Port Kembla exports around 10 million tonnes of coal and coke each year, according to the Port Kembla Port Corporation, and processed about 5 percent of seaborne metallurgical coal used for steelmaking last year.
After a week-long strike beginning Feb. 1, about 100 union members will have work stoppages ranging from two to four hours on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday besides full-day stoppages on Wednesday and possibly Friday, Bob Timbs, a union spokesman, said.
The coal terminal is brought to a standstill every time union members strike, he said.
The workers of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) are striking to protest against the Port Corporation's proposal to cut the number of employees covered by the union agreement.
The union had also asked for a pay raise of 4.5 percent and the port had offered an increase of 4.3 percent, but Timbs said pay was not the focus of the strikes.
The Port Kembla Coal Corporation was not immediately available to comment.
The Port Kembla strikes coincide with a week-long strike at BHP Billiton-Mistubishi Alliance (BMA) mines, where 3,500 unionised workers have walked off the job in a bid to get greater job security and more pay.
Analysts have estimated that a full week of 12-hour stoppages at the BMA mines would cut production by up to 1 million tonnes.
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