Former Newcastle coal-loader supervisors "strike breaking" at Port Kembla, says maritime union

PICKET: Port Kembla Coal Terminal employees outside the gate of the terminal on Monday. Picture: Illawarra Mercury
PICKET: Port Kembla Coal Terminal employees outside the gate of the terminal on Monday. Picture: Illawarra Mercury

AT least two former supervisors of Port Waratah Coal Services are working as “strike-breakers” during the industrial dispute at Port Kembla Coal Terminal, angering the Maritime Union of Australia.

 A long-running dispute over conditions at Port Kembla flared on Friday when the company told its unionised workforce it was locked out of work for four days from Sunday.

The union is also negotiating a new enterprise agreement with PWCS and its Newcastle branch secretary, Glen Williams, said members wanted to know how Kembla got hold of the strike-breakers.

PWCS chief executive Hennie du Plooy confirmed that at least two former supervisors were at Kembla but he said the Newcastle terminal had nothing to do their recruitment.

“We’ve had no role in it and I’m not about to start specifying what ex-employees can or can’t do,” Mr du Plooy said.

Kembla has blamed record low throughput for a need to cut costs but Mr Williams said Kembla was being upgraded and coal was being railed to Newcastle for export because Kembla had only one loader operating.

Mr du Plooy confirmed that coal that would normally have been shipped from Kembla was being exported instead from Newcastle, but he said it was not in “huge amounts”.

He was not able to give a specific amount.

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