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Mount Pleasant mine workers in line for historic pay rise   

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Workers at Mount Pleasant Coal are in line for a pay rise after the Mining and Energy Union (MEU) lodged an historic application with the Fair Work Commission this week.

If successful, the claim would result in significant wage increases of approximately $30,000 to $40,000 a year from November. 

The MEU tendered the Same Job Same Pay submission for Programmed labour hire employers at the site near Muswellbrook.

Northern Mining and NSW Energy District president Robin Williams said the union was committed to making as many successful applications as possible. 

“These are new laws, so we are focused on selecting and running cases we believe have the highest chance of success,” he explained.

“Mount Pleasant, which is owned by MACH Energy and operated by Thiess, employs some of its production workforce through labour hire provider Programmed.

“They perform the same work on the same equipment under the same supervision as Thiess production employees.

“We will do everything possible to make sure the new laws deliver pay increases to labour hire workers as intended, but there is a legal process to follow that will take some time.”

It’s the first action of its kind in NSW and the second nationally.

The MEU recently lodged an application to the Fair Work Commission covering mineworkers employed by Workpac at Batchfire’s Callide mine at Biloela in Central Queensland. 

If approved, the order would lift the pay of Programmed production employees to match production operators employed under the Thiess Mount Pleasant Operation Enterprise Agreement. 

The wage differential ranges from approximately $30,000 to $40,000 annually.

Mr Williams said MEU members had campaigned for many years for new laws to prevent mining companies using labour hire to drive down pay structures.

“The tide is turning,” he stated.

“Our message to all labour hire and contractor mineworkers across the industry is to join the union, help us make strong Same Job Same Pay applications and return fairness to the industry.” 

The Fair Work Commission determines the outcome, which triggers a requirement to pay a “protected rate of pay” at a site, preventing employers from using labour hire workers to undercut rates agreed through bargaining. 

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