Union: Workers to be told fate at CQ mine tonight
UPDATE: CALEDON Resources have started notifying workers to tell them if they would be stood down or not from the Cook Colliery mine.
Union representative Glenn Power said the workers - who had been sitting around waiting to hear what their fate would be from 11.30am today - were being phoned now and told either they would be required to continue working or were stood down.
If it was the latter, they would have until 5pm Saturday to clear their rooms.
He said the company had committed to responding to CFMEU questions tomorrow, but would not meet with representatives until Monday.
EARLIER: MACKAY residents are likely to be among the 400 workers stood down from the Cook Colliery mine near Blackwater- a move the CFMEU has described as "ludicrous".
CFMEU representative Glenn Power claimed that Caledon Resource's Cook Colliery mine originally flooded on March 7, and believed the mine was now using the event as an excuse to stand down workers without pay.
He said a clause in the Enterprise Agreement said that if the mine had to shut for more than 10 consecutive days for a reason outside the control of the mine owners, then it wouldn't have to pay workers for the shut down period.
But he believed the flood was most likely the result of poor management and therefore the fault of the mine owners.
Given the flood had only occurred in one part of the underground mine he said there were other areas the workers could be operating- and they had been until 11pm Thursday.
That's when workers were called into a meeting and told of the plan to stand some of the workforce down- which Mr Power believed could be up to 50%.
Along with the permanent workers, he claimed contractors from ABM and LCR Group would be impacted.
In Mr Power's opinion, the company's handling of the situation- that meant workers were currently sitting around waiting to find out whether they should go home or not- was completely bizarre.
"We are urgently trying to understand what they're doing here. We've requested a meeting with mine management before close of business tomorrow," Mr Power said.
"There's rumours up to 50% of the workforce would be stood down."
He noted if the longwall machine- which he said was worth millions- was flooded, it would be extremely expensive to recover it.
Another rumour Mr Power said was circulating was that extra police officers had been brought to Blackwater to handle the situation- which cannot be confirmed.
Police and Caledon Resources will be contracted for comment.
More to come.