Gujarat NRE workers have received a ‘‘strong commitment’’ from new manager Jindal Steel that they will receive a double wage payment today.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union district vice-president Bob Timbs said one payment would make up for that missed last week so the company could pay its power bill to stop Origin Energy from cutting off electricity at its two mines.
The workers would also receive this week’s wages, he said.
Mr Timbs said the company had indicated workers could expect to receive their pay cheques as normal in the future.
New Gujarat chairman and Jindal Australia boss Jasbir Singh confirmed in a phone call to Mr Timbs at 10am yesterday that the payments would be made.
Workers are still owed millions of dollars in several weeks' worth of back pay and months of unpaid superannuation.
Mr Timbs said the company had confirmed work would be done to ensure back payments were made ‘‘in an orderly and correct manner’’.
‘‘The logistics of what’s owed and the complexities around ascertaining who’s owed what is complex so we want to make sure it’s all done right,’’ he said.
‘‘For this week our short-term goal was [to have] an undertaking for immediate wage payments and the security of ongoing wage payments.’’
The union was charged with the task of telling workers, who were ‘‘scattered’’ throughout the district.
Gujarat’s two mines at Wongawilli and Russell Vale have had reduced crews on site in recent weeks but Mr Timbs said work was expected to begin returning to normal next week.
The news of forthcoming payment was welcomed by Gujarat NRE workers and family members who took to the recently set up a Facebook page to celebrate.
One wife said it would feel like she had ‘‘won the jackpot’’ once her husband’s wages were paid, but they would not break out the champagne until it was in his bank account.