Union Members Protest At New Coal Loader

Unions gather to protest NCIG non union agreement

About 200 union members gathered outside the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) on Monday, where MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said unions worked to help set up the billion-dollar facility and the non-union agreement is a slap in the face to Newcastle workers.

"We're here to send a clear message to Peabody, BHP, some of the biggest mining companies in the world - it's not good enough," he said.

"If you come to this area you've got to pay the going rate and you've got to treat your workers with respect."

Premier Kristina Keneally decided to boycott the opening ceremony, ABC Radio report.

She says that while the coal loader is a huge economic boost for the region, she is disappointed in the arrangements made by the NCIG.

"I have never supported Workchoices and I never will," she said.

"I'm disappointed that NCIG signed up to a Workchoices contract arrangement in the dying days of that industrial relations system.

"I've expressed that to NCIG and I'm encouraging them to continue to work with the union movement."

The new coal terminal opening was snubbed by politicians. 

The BHP-lead consortium Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group coal terminal has been taking ships for several weeks, but today underwent its official opening.  

Today's protest was organised by the Transport Union Federation (TUF) with speeches by

 -      Paddy Crumlin, National Secretary, MUA

-       Tony Sheldon, National Secretary, TWU

-       Gary Kennedy, Secretary, Newcastle Trades Hall

-       Steve Wright, Freight Organiser, RTBU NSW

-       Robert Coombs, Member for Swansea

Check out photos of the rally on MUA FlickR

READ the full ABC Online report

 

Coal loader opening angers unions, environmentalists