Miners' dispute needs clear heads

26 November, 2009

Solid Energy should come to the table and work out a deal miners can accept rather than cynically attempting to play them off against each other and their union, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.

The call follows comments from Solid Energy today about the dispute at the Huntly East mine, which revolves around the State Owned Enterprise's plan to reduce miners' hours but not compensate them for the loss of income.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says Solid Energy needs to calm down and come back to the table in good faith.

"These things are difficult, the company wants to change our members' hours which will affect their income, and it doesn't want to compensate them for this. Clearly, our members aren't happy with this situation and they have the support of their colleagues nationwide.

"Solid Energy's attempts to paint the union as ‘irresponsible' are disappointing. Throughout this dispute we have negotiated in good faith, we have taken the company's offers back to our members and these offers have been voted down. That's called democracy.

"The fact is calling each other names and making wild accusations in the media isn't going to get us any closer to a solution. We'll be in contact with the company shortly and are encouraging them to come to the table in good faith to sort out an agreement we can all live with."

Miners at Huntly's Rotowaro and Huntly East mine are currently on strike. Miners at Spring Creek and Stockton on the West Coast will meet this evening to discuss their next course of action.

ENDS

For more information please contact Andrew Little on 027 551 3476 or EPMU communications advisor Neale Jones on 027 276 7609.