PICKET LINE: CFMEU mascot Scabby the Rat takes to the picket line at Camm Park, Middlemount.
PICKET LINE: CFMEU mascot Scabby the Rat takes to the picket line at Camm Park, Middlemount. Jessica Dorey

Mining town on edge as forced redundancies loom

THE COMMUNITY of Middlemount is facing a sombre Christmas as discussion toward the forced redundancies of staff at German Creek Coal Mine continue.

On November 4 Anglo American confirmed 83 positions would be made redundant, days after coal prices reached a three-year high of US$230/tonne.

The announcement follows an ongoing debate about the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement at German Creek mine since 2014.

A miners wife who wishes to remain anonymous told CQ News families were expecting to find out who will be made redundant in the next two weeks.

"They are just dragging it out even more," she said.

"Instead of offering the staff voluntary redundancies they have gone straight to forced redundancies which has made a lot of people edgy.

"Once again we are left in the position of waiting for them to make their move. We can't make plans one way or another."

Residents of Middlemount say that they are already feeling the loss of community with the closing of ANZ bank and other big business. They fear that the loss of 83 jobs will force even more people out of the area.

"Workers that were hired as full time were given a house as part of the contract," the wife said.

"So the people made redundant will not only loose their jobs but their house as well."

After making a back-up plan twelve months ago, the woman said her family was one of the lucky ones because they have a house to move to in another area.

"It still means we would need to leave Middlemount. I would have to give up my job and the kids would need to move school."

"But what about the families that have no where else to go? Many will face the loss of two incomes and a house and on top of it will have to relocate and organise new schooling for kids over the Christmas holidays.

"It sucks, it has been made abundantly clear that we are just numbers and not the valued members of community we were lead to believe we were."

Over 140 staff from German Creek Coal Mine have been striking at a picket line at Camm Park, Middlemount since August.

A representative from CMFEU said that the redundancies will impact the whole community of Middlemount.

"We just want them to come to an agreement with the EBA so we can go back to work," he said.

Some of the major issues brought to the forefront by CMFEU include the alleged advertisements of causal labour hire as their replacements and the targeting of union activists.

In a range of statements a spokesperson from Anglo American said that the allegations made by CMFEU are all "completely false".

"Anglo American remains totally committed to making the best possible contribution to the region's future by remaining viable and continuing to support jobs and generate Government revenue."