Union says miner's health concerns not taken seriously

THERE are reports that mining companies in Queensland are giving workers an ultimatum to go back to work after many raised concerns about their health following revelations Black Lung disease had reemerged in Queensland, CFMEU said.

At the Oaky Creek complex in central Queensland, Glencore has told workers they must return underground to work, or risk losing their jobs.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland District President, Steve Smyth, said while some mining companies were taking the issue seriously and acting with consideration, others clearly have no regard whatsoever for their workers health and safety.

"After what we've learnt this week about the reemergence of Black Lung, forcing workers back down underground against their wishes shows a stunning disregard for Australian employees health and safety," Mr Smyth said.

"It is completely understandable that workers have concerns about their health and safety under the circumstances and companies who try to ignore or duck the issue should be condemned.

"Can you imagine the conversation these blokes are having with their families before they are forced back into the mine?"

"There are going to be two sides to this - those mining companies that take ownership and want to be part of the solution, and those who don't. We're already seeing who is lining up where."

Mr Smyth continued to call for an open and transparent public inquiry into the reemergence of Black Lung disease, saying mining companies, regulators and authorities needed to work with the community to first understand the regulatory and company failures before coming up with the solution.

"Victims, mining workers, their families and communities deserve an opportunity to be part of a full public process, including hearings in affected mining towns," Mr Smyth said.

"This problem is not of the current Queensland Government's making and we want to work with them to fix the legacy issues they now confront, but it has to be a proper open process."

Glencore have been contacted for comment.


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