Appin mine supervisors to strike 

Supervisors at Illawarra Coal’s Appin mine will go on strike for two weeks from this Friday after negotiations with the company over pay broke down.

Talks were underway late last week between the union representing about 50 supervisors - called deputies - and Illawarra Coal to negotiate a new enterprise agreement.

Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers of Australia collieries staff division director Catherine Bolger said the Appin supervisors had never taken strike action before.

‘‘No-one takes the decision to go on a two-week strike lightly,’’ she said.

‘‘They have been trying to negotiate for five months, so they are extremely frustrated and upset that BHP is still not listening.’’

Illawarra Coal is a subsidiary of mining giant BHP Billiton.

The union is arguing that the supervisors’ salaries do not reflect market conditions elsewhere in NSW and Queensland. It plans to commence 14 days of protected industrial action this Friday.

The company rejected it’s claims today.

“Appin Mine supervisors are competitively remunerated, a fact supported by the very low level of turnover in these positions at the Appin Mine,’’ Illawarra Coal president Troy McDonald said.

‘‘The Appin Mine supervisors’ base salaries have increased by more than 18 per cent over the past four years including an average increase of five per cent in September this year.”

See tomorrow’s Illawarra Mercury for more.

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