Australia's Port Kembla Coal Terminal faces strike
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 | 11:00
Workers at the BHP Billiton Ltd. managed Port Kembla Coal Terminal in eastern Australia will launch a seven-day strike from Wednesday after negotiations failed to resolve a labor dispute, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union said.
The action threatens to halt operations at the terminal, which ships coking coal and some thermal coal for companies including BHP, Peabody Energy Corp. and Xstrata PLC .
The union in an emailed statement said management "scaled back conditions" on offer to workers during the latest talks to finalize a new workplace agreement. The almost 100 workers represented by the union had already voted in favor of a week-long strike if no deal was reached with management Tuesday.
The major sticking point with the latest version of the offer concerned job security measures, including attempts by the company to exclude some workers from the workplace deal, and isn't about pay, said Bob Timbs, district vice president of the CFMEU.
"This is about ensuring job security for the life of the three-and-a-half-year agreement," he said.
Peter Green, general manager of the terminal, wasn't immediately available to comment. A spokeswoman for BHP in Melbourne declined to comment.
Port Kembla Coal Terminal, located roughly 70 kilometers south of Sydney, is operated by six equal partners who lease the terminal from the government of New South Wales state. The terminal has the capacity to export 15 million metric tons of coal a year, according to government data.
Source: Market Watch
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