Workers at Helensburgh Metropolitan Colliery will vote in a secret ballot whether to accept Peabody Energy’s latest enterprise agreement offer as the company moves to break a union deadlock.
The move has angered the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, which has been involved in negotiations with the company since it rejected Peabody’s new pay offer earlier this month.
CFMEU south-western district vice-president Bob Timbs condemned the company for the decision.
‘‘Negotiations have been washed away by an agreement that has not been condoned by the CFMEU,’’ he said.
Mr Timbs said he did not expect workers would support Peabody’s proposed enterprise agreement, which contains no pay increase this year, and a 2per cent increase in each of the following two years, plus bonus components.
The union has been calling for a 4per cent wage increase on workers’ hourly rate in exchange for a 4per cent sacrifice on production bonuses, which it says is in line with other Illawarra coalmines.
Union members have been protesting outside the mine’s entrance since the beginning of the week after the company elected to idle the mine for a week and lock workers out.
Employees were locked out in response to a decision by the union to introduce industrial action in the form of bans and limitations at the mine.
Peabody has engaged the Australian Electoral Commission to facilitate the enterprise agreement vote.
The vote will take place by secret ballot on Sunday, November 3, and Monday, November 4, in Helensburgh.
A company spokeswoman said the company remained ‘‘committed to continuing discussions with the workforce and their bargaining representatives’’.