The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has applauded the breakthrough deal with mining giant Rio Tinto in Western Australia. The collective agreement for iron ore rail workers in the Pilbara region is the first such union agreement with the mining company for 18 years. With this the union gains its first foothold in the region after nearly two decades.
The union was happy that the year and half spent in negotiations with Rio Tinto had lead to a collective agreement for almost 400 rail workers. CFMEU mining division Western Australia Secretary Gary Wood led the negotiations. Mr Wood said that the deal brought fairness back to the workplace.
Mr Wood explained that the union needed to overcome WorkChoices and then take Rio Tinto to Fair Work Australia to confirm the right to bargain on behalf of the workers. Now they would be treated with respect in their workplace and have also the right to bargain collectively with their employer with respect to workplace conditions.
He also was all praises for the Fair Work Act saying that it brought in the ability and vehicle that both parties need to bargain constructively in good faith and manner to get good conclusions like they had managed here.