Uions are accusing mining companies of using the plunge in the iron ore price as an excuse to slash wages and conditions.
The West Australian Transport Workers Union said that transport companies are being asked to cut rates and reduce costs for the iron ore industry.
Mr Tim Dawson state secretary of the Transport Workers Union said that mining companies are opportunistically using the state of the industry to negotiate leaner contracts with service providers.
He said that “The companies that cart the freight up from Perth into the mining and also the companies that cart the ore for them, they are definitely squeezing them a fair bit and telling them to sharpen their pencils and trying to cut rates. There is cost savings definitely going on and the cost savings means that those companies will attack the wages and conditions of the truck drivers.”
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA said that mining companies are looking to cut costs but Ms Nicole Roocke deputy chief executive said that the efforts began before the iron ore price dropped. She said that “What we have actually seen is over the last 12 months quite a lot of criticism levelled at the resource sector about not having very good productivity. So even before the iron ore had dropped to the levels that it is at the moment the companies were giving serious consideration to how to do the maximise output with their existing assets and where to get efficiencies in other areas.”
The CME said that while the falling Australian dollar has brought some relief, low iron ore prices have created an urgent need for industry savings in order to maintain stability.
However the TWU rejects the notion the industry has been bloated with high costs.
Mr Dawson said that “These are people that keep the mining industry going that do these type of jobs so to actually use them as an excuse or a reason to try and cut their costs I think is unwarranted.”
Source – abc
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