Bradken hit by pay dispute
EMERGENCY meetings between union officials and mining manufacturer Bradken have cleared up a dispute over staff facing two weeks without pay in a forced shutdown.
Bradken goes into shutdown on Monday, with most workers using holiday leave payments to cover the forced break. However, Australian Metal Workers Union state organiser Steve Franklin said Bradken had allowed workers to use sick leave if holiday leave was not available, to ensure all staff were paid over the two weeks.
Since the agreement was reached, Bradken had withdrawn the offer, leaving staff facing uncertainty over the two-week period.
But Mr Franklin said a series of meetings yesterday resolved the issue, allowing all staff to be paid.
Bradken, which develops products for mining, freight rail, and steel-making industries, sacked 30 workers from its foundry earlier this month.
In further signs of the mining industry slow down, the remaining 60 foundry workers will begin a four-day working week when work recommences.
Employees will use sick and holiday leave to cover fifth day payments.
Despite the small win, Mr Franklin said there were signs the slow down in work at the Karrabin site would extend to November.
This has raised concerns of more redundancies across the engineering and fabrication workshops which employ 100 staff.
Dozens of employees recently gathered for a union meeting outside the Karrabin site.
Bradken was contacted for comment but did not respond before publication.
Mr Franklin said the situation was tough on staff, their families and the community.
"There is a lot of concern that workers are using up their holidays and leave and if redundancies do follow they will be made redundant and all their entitlements will be used up and affect their pay out," he said.
"The reason for the down turn is the big mining companies are not seeking or buying parts or material, which is affecting the local economy."
He said Bradken's decision to honour the original agreement had given the workers a slight boost.
"They were relieved that the company had held the position they had given."
One staff member said morale among foundry staff was at rock bottom.
The staff member said one employee had been laid off three times in four years.
The strain on families and the ability to plan for the future was beginning to take its toll, the worker said.