Workers from Peabody’s Helensburgh Metropolitan Colliery returned to work yesterday, despite the ongoing battle over their new enterprise agreement.
Staff involved in the dispute went back to work yesterday after striking over the long weekend.
The action came after nearly 200 workers walked off the job for 48 hours last Wednesday, following three days of bans on production and limitations by the mine’s workforce.
The mining union claims the new agreement proposed by Peabody would freeze employees’ pay increases, potentially putting their wages more than 20per cent behind other operations in the region.
CFMEU south-western district vice-president Bob Timbs said the proposal was unacceptable.
‘‘First they offered zero per cent increase in pay over three years, then they made a counter-offer with minimal increases over years two and three,’’ he said.
‘‘We just want a pay deal that is fair and decent.’’
He told the Mercury he was set to meet with union officials today to discuss further action against the company.
The union has been negotiating a new agreement with the company for the past six months but said discussions had completely broken down.
Mr Timbs said the union would look at any offers put forward.
A Peabody Energy statement sent to the Mercury yesterday said ‘‘the total remuneration package provided to Metropolitan mine employees is comparable with other mines in the Illawarra region’’.
‘‘Peabody Energy Australia has been working with the bargaining representatives at the Metropolitan mine in an attempt to negotiate a new enterprise agreement which reflects current market conditions, lifts productivity, reduces costs, enhances safety and provides greater job security for Metropolitan mine employees,’’ another statement said last week. ‘‘We remain committed to continuing discussions with the bargaining representatives and workforce.’’