Dave saved: South32 ‘disappointed’ with order to reinstate undies miner

Appin miners at the undie protest in early March. Inset: Dave McLachlan.
Appin miners at the undie protest in early March. Inset: Dave McLachlan.

Mining company South32 says it’s disappointed with the Fair Work Commission’s decision to reinstate sacked miner Dave McLachlan and is working to determine whether to take further action.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) found Mr McLachlan was unfairly sacked for joining workers who stripped down to their underpants in protest of cuts to their laundry services.

A South32 spokeswoman said the company was “considering our position”.

“We are working hard to create an inclusive culture where everyone feels safe and comfortable in the workplace,” she said.

“These actions are not in line with our values or our code of conduct.

“Our values support a culture where we treat people fairly and respectfully.”

The FWC on Friday reinstated the sacked miner after finding his dismissal from South 32’s Appin mine in April was “harsh, unjust and unreasonable”.

The decision followed a national “Save Dave” campaign led by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) in support of the 50-year-old miner at the centre of the so called “undies protest”.

How the Mercury reported the national "Save Dave" campaign in May.

How the Mercury reported the national "Save Dave" campaign in May.

Workers at the Appin Colliery staged a 10-minute protest after their employer refused to provide replacement work clothes and a laundry service.

At the time, South32 said issues securing a supplier of clothing suitable for industrial laundering had caused delays in implementing the service.

Compensation was paid to employees.