Union calls for a halt to Peak’s contractor plan

The Australian Workers Union (AWU) has called on Aurelia Metals, the owner of Peak Gold Mines, to put the transfer of the mining workforce to contractor Pybar Mining Services on hold while a number of urgent issues are resolved.

AWU NSW Branch vice president Ron Cowdrey said on Monday the move from owner-mining to contract mining was a threat to both the wages and conditions of workers, and to the economy of Cobar.

“Handing the keys to the Peak Gold Mine over to a contractor is a huge change to the operation that will have significant impacts for workers for the region.

“The move to contract mining is purely and simply about saving money,” Mr Cowdrey said.

“But given the importance of the Peak Gold Mine to the Cobar region, it is vital that the needs of workers and the community are protected.

“We’re particularly concerned by the prospect of a fly-in, fly-out workforce, and what this would mean for Cobar.

“Furthermore, we are concerned about issues such as safety and the mental well-being of workers, and that workers will potentially lose a range of vital conditions such as allowances and roster arrangements.”

Mr Cowdrey said Aurelia Metals Ltd had a 413 per cent increase in profits for the 2018 financial year, posting a net profit of $99.1 million.

“The Peak Gold Mine was a major contributor to Aurelia Metals’ strong financial results.

“Aurelia Metals’ profits have been built on the back of its workers and on the back of communities like Cobar,” he said.

“The very least the company should do is consult with the people who are affected by a major change such as this before finalising its plans.

“That’s why the AWU is requesting that Aurelia Metals urgently reassess its decision to outsource mining and maintenance activities at Peak Gold Mines.”