Union protests Chinese Embassy over Cook Colliery unpaid worker entitlements

Published: 30 Oct 2017

Workers from the Cook Colliery in Queensland will be joined by CFMEU officials in a protest outside the Chinese Embassy in Canberra today. More than 200 workers have been terminated after the Chinese company, GRAM, which owns the mine was placed into administration earlier in the year, after an underground longwall panel was flooded with water. The company representatives claimed no responsibility for inadequately managing the incident. GRAM is part owned by the Chinese Government.

The workers were stood down without pay for two months in March, before the company eventually went into receivership.

Many of the workers have not been paid their full entitlements, with up to 60 employees owed amounts ranging from $1,000 up to $50,000.

Meanwhile, all senior management staff at the company have been paid 100% of their entitlements.

A stalemate in the sale of the facility is holding up the payment of final monies owed to the workers. A buyer has been found for the Cook Colliery but GRAM and the secured creditors, the Bank of China, and the China Development Bank, are at a stalemate which has impacted for the sale to be approved. 

CFMEU National Secretary, Michael O’Connor, called on the Chinese Ambassador to intervene, and seek urgent action from the Chinese Government.

“It’s now been seven months since these workers were stood down without pay, facing an uncertain future.

“The workers and their families still haven’t been paid their full entitlements and have been subjected to extreme financial distress.

“Yet Cook Colliery senior management staff have been paid their entitlements in full.

“We need the Chinese Government to break the deadlock on the sale of Cook Colliery, so these workers can finally get their just entitlements.”

Details: 12.00 pm, Chinese Embassy, 15 Coronation Drive Canberra