Employees at Gujarat NRE's No 1 Colliery refused to work on Thursday morning because the company had failed to pay them on time, the mining union has revealed.
About 80 workers walked off the job at the Russell Vale mine at the start of their shift after they did not receive their weekly pay on Wednesday afternoon.
CFMEU mining and energy division district vice-president Bob Timbs yesterday confirmed this week's action was the latest in an ongoing dispute between the union and the company over late wage and superannuation payments.
He told the Mercury the two bodies had been before the Fair Work Commission at least four times in the past few months to discuss late payments.
A spokesperson for AusCOAL Super told the Mercury yesterday that Gujarat NRE had not paid any compulsory superannuation payments to workers since March.
She could not provide an amount of outstanding superannuation or how many workers had not been paid.
She said AusCOAL had worked out a payment plan with the company and payments would be made within the next few weeks.
Meantime, several frustrated Gujarat employees had lodged an independent formal complaint with the Australian Taxation Office over their unpaid superannuation, the union said.
The Mercury asked Gujarat NRE why it had not paid its workers on time and requested a comment about late superannuation payments but the company did not respond to the questions.
Instead, a spokeswoman sent a one-line statement saying: "The matter relating to [Thursday] has been discussed with the union and the men returned to work."
The workers were paid on Thursday.
The company was also asked how workers could be confident they would be paid in the future, and whether it had any assurances to make regarding its ongoing financial issues.
However, the Mercury was referred to previous statements from chairman Arun Jagatramka.
He said on Thursday that the company had been working with the union to resolve a number of "issues and concerns".
"Gujarat NRE Coking Coal, along with all coal producers, in the country are experiencing tough operating conditions, brought about by a drop in the international coal price and a still-buoyant Australian dollar," he said. "In these difficult times, the company is working at maintaining its workforce, rather than shedding jobs as has happened elsewhere."
There was no comment from the company about the complaint lodged by workers with the tax department or whether there was any personal strain on workers when they were paid late.
Mr Timbs also told the Mercury that weekend work at the company had been reduced and workers had all been scaled back to a "bare bones" 35-hour working week.
He said while workers were not happy about the decline in hours, they had soldiered on.
"We've had really good support from our members and I'm proud of them battling through the past 18 months," he said.
"The union and its members have worked tirelessly with the company to help it trade out of its current financial position."
Meantime, Indian steel giant Jindal Steel and Power is one step closer to increasing its share in the Illawarra miner. Jindal stepped in to invest $66 million and increase its share in the company to 44 per cent after Gujarat failed to raise money through an issue of new shares to its stakeholders.
According to documents published by the Australian Securities Exchange this week, Gujarat shareholders will have the opportunity to vote on the Jindal share increase at a meeting on October 16.
The company's shares have been voluntarily suspended from trading since June, giving it time to refinance its debt.
In August, Gujarat's annual report revealed the company posted a $76.6 million loss in the 12 months to March 2013.
The company also revealed it had $487.88 million worth of debts to pay within the next year.