Gujurat Mine workers have called on Treasurer Joe Hockey to show some heart and use $8 million owed by Jindal Steel to the ATO, to pay workers who have not been paid for five weeks.
Ms Catherine Bolger, director of the Collieries Staff and Officers Association, a division of Professionals Australia the union that represents mine supervisors and staff, is calling on Joe Hockey to step in and show some heart by helping these workers and the Illawarra economy.”
Currently Gujurat parent company Jindal Steel, owes $8-10 million to the ATO, which is imposing a garnishee order on the company’s bank accounts. In an eleventh hour deal, Jindal and Gujurat management freed up around $68 million in funds however under the garnishee order the ATO has the right to claim its debt ahead of the company paying workers.
“Gujurat workers have shown incredible dedication and commitment working without pay for five weeks, because they know that the mine needs to keep operating to have a future,” Ms Bolger said.
“These workers can’t continue to work without pay, but if they stop there is a real risk the mine will cease to operate. Paying these workers would avoid that catastrophe.
“We have tried everything, now we are calling on the Federal Treasurer, as the person in charge of the ATO, to help things get back on track for these workers and the Wollongong community.
“There is a lot at stake here – the future of these workers, the future of the mine and the future of the Illawarra economy – it’s all at risk if these workers don’t get paid.
“As Treasurer, Joe Hockey would understand that it would be completely counter-productive for the ATO to claim this debt and as a result, force these workers to stop working and for the mine to cease production.
“Why risk substantial job losses and flow-on damage on the broader Illawarra economy? We call on Joe Hockey to intervene and call off the ATO, so that these workers can get paid and keep this mine operating.”
Read media coverage of this issue
Workers closer to disputed mine pay , Ewin Hannan, The Australian, 24 October 2013.
Miners return to work despite no pay guarantee , The Australian, 25 October 2013.