Appin mine strike comes to an end

Illawarra Coal has welcomed news that strike action by mine supervisors at the company's Appin mine will end tomorrow.

"We look forward to the Appin mine supervisors returning to work on Friday and continuing negotiations to conclude an agreement on reasonable terms as soon as possible," Illawarra Coal president Troy McDonald said.

About 50 supervisors have been on strike for almost two weeks.

The supervisors walked out in a bid to force a deal with Illawarra Coal - a subsidiary of BHP Billiton - after months of failed negotiations over a new enterprise agreement.

Mr McDonald said Illawarra Coal had a good understanding of how its workers were remunerated across its three mine sites and the broader business, which ensured it "remunerates our people fairly and competitively".

He said the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia, the union representing the supervisors, had publicly made comparisons with base salaries for mine supervisors across the country.

"However, the union has ignored the fact that our total remuneration includes much more than a base salary," Mr McDonald said.

"It is in the company's best interests to ensure that we offer a competitive package to our mine supervisors so that we continue to attract a quality workforce.

"Our very low level of turnover for mine supervisors at the Appin mine, and the strong demand in securing these supervisor positions with the company, is evidence that we have the balance right."

However, the union's collieries director Catherine Bolger said Appin supervisors were paid well below supervisors at other coalmines in NSW.

"As this strike draws to a close, we hope that BHP does pause and reflect on the way it is treating its employees," Ms Bolger said.

The supervisors were simply looking for "a fair go" in negotiating a new agreement.

"Let's be real. These mining supervisors have never taken industrial action before; they have been trying to negotiate with BHP for five long months and this is now the second week of industrial action. So it is a bit rich for BHP to say that they think they have the balance right.

"We really hope that BHP returns to negotiations with the goal of resolving this dispute."


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