The entire Appin workforce of major contractor Delta has been stood down after mine owner South32 terminated the contract of the mine services company, which is in administration.
CFMEU district vice-president Bob Timbs said about 200 contract workers had been removed from the mine after their jobs were terminated on Thursday.
But he and South32 were hopeful most, if not all, of the workers would be re-employed at the mine, which is currently not operating after gas issues caused the regulator to order a shutdown.
A company spokeswoman said other contractors may pick up the workers.
“With Delta Coal in administration we have reached the decision to terminate their contract with Appin mine,” she said.
“As we work towards a return to production we anticipate an ongoing labour requirement and it would be a good outcome for the mine if we saw all former Delta employees at Appin taking up employment with other labour providers at the mine.”
Mr Timbs said those workers were likely to be off for at least a week, but contractors Mastermyne and Southern Colliery Maintenance could take them on.
Meanwhile, the Appin workforce is being engaged in training and the safety review process, meaning they are being paid during the enforced stand-down.
The South32 spokeswoman said it will be some time before production resumed.
“Given the scope of this review, an extended outage is anticipated before production at Illawarra Metallurgical Coal can be restored to historic levels,” she said.
“Our employees are taking part in training, being deployed to other activities on the surface, and assisting with the review process.”
Mr Timbs said the union had received an undertaking it would be consulted before any major changes were made, but the uncertainty continued.
“There’s been uncertainty at that mine for much of the past six months,” he said.
“The workers, of course they are worried about their future employment.”
Delta was put into voluntary administration in May.