Xstrata Lockout, Tahmoor - 11 February 2010

stephen_CFMEU_tahmoor_300w.jpgFollowing a decision by Xstrata to lock out it's workforce at Tahmoor for a week in February, I drove up the escarpment to visit with the workers on their picket line.

Members of the CFMEU (Mining and Energy Division) have been trying to negotiate a new collective agreement with Xstrata for many months.

The protracted dispute between the owners of the Colliery and its workforce should be a concern to all fair-minded people.

At the last Federal election the Australian public sent a clear message to government and business; that the law of the jungle – enshrined by the extreme Work Choices legislation – should be banished from our workplaces.

Yet less than a year after the commencement of the Fair Work Act, we are reminded of the lingering culture of the Work Choices era, through this protracted dispute and lockout.

The of the workers for a modest pay rise, maintenance of existing working conditions and protection of their health and safety - deserves our support.

While it's good to hear the workers are back at work, it's important that the company and the union work constructively to reach an agreement.

I'll be keeping an eye on this one. Hopefully there will be positive developments soon.