The Australian Bankers’ Association has advised Gujarat NRE Coking Coal workers who do not know when they will next be paid to contact their banks as soon as possible.
Keira MP Ryan Park contacted the association on Tuesday, notifying its acting chief executive, Tony Burke, about the financial hardship facing hundreds of workers in the coming weeks.
Mr Park asked the association to show leniency for Gujarat employees, who have not been paid since September 18.
Yesterday, Mr Burke welcomed Mr Park’s letter, which he said would help the association advise banks about the money troubles potentially affecting at least 450 Illawarra workers.
Mr Burke urged members of the Gujarat NRE workforce who believed they were at risk of missing a mortgage payment to contact their bank branch immediately.
‘‘If you know difficulty is coming, don’t wait until it has actually happened,’’ he said.
‘‘Don’t wait until you find yourself in trouble and default on a payment, forcing the bank to contact you directly.’’
Mr Burke said he recognised workers might be reticent to admit to financial stress, but reassured them banks were used to dealing with such problems.
‘‘None of us like to go to anyone and say we’ve got a problem, but the banks have tried to make it as easy as possible to get to the right part of the bank,’’ he said.
‘‘I would just emphasise that you need to contact your bank as soon as you think there is going to be a problem because, while I understand this is a terrible situation for everyone concerned, banks deal with financial hardship all the time.’’
Mr Park said he was pleased with the association’s prompt response, because he had already been approached by Gujarat NRE miners who were worried about their future.
‘‘They will now make sure the banks are aware of this situation, so they can show some consideration to all these workers who will be coming in while the situation with Gujarat is up in the air,’’ he said.
Mr Burke advised workers to visit the association’s new website – doingittough.info – which would help direct them to relevant information on what their banks could offer in times of financial stress.