Workers from PPK Mining Equipment, a subsidiary of ASX-listed PPK Group (PPK), walked off the job on April 13 in Tomago NSW to rally for a fairer pay deal from owner Dale McNamara.
The workers plan to keep their tools down for 24 hours.
It’s the second time this month that PPK Mining Equipment workers have gone on strike amid booming coal sales and rising workloads that the company’s owner has failed to meet with wage increases.
Australian Workers Union organiser Cameron Wright said PPK management had failed to listen to its workers’ demands on multiple occasions throughout the last four years.
“Dale McNamara promised his workers if they took a pay freeze in 2019 to help PPK Mining Equipment through a difficult time they would be rewarded when things got better; well, it doesn’t get much better than an international coal boom,” Mr Wright said.
PPK Mining Equipment hires out machinery to underground coal mines and provides market-leading products to service and support the mining industry.
Following the 2019 pay freeze, Mr McNamara — a former One Nation candidate — again froze the pay of his workers in 2021 and asked them to stand by the company until a “big” merger went through.
“Well, since then the merger with Valley Longwall International has gone through, profits are massively up, and yet workers are being asked to accept a deal that does not come close to keeping pace with the cost of living,” Mr Wright said.
PPK workers said they would not accept the “sub-par” deal that did not give them a fair cut of the profits they helped create.
“Our members know how much business PPK Mining Equipment is doing because they are the ones dealing with the workload. It’s going gangbusters on the shop floor, they’ve got more work than they can do, so they’re sick of management crying poor when profits are on the up and up,” Mr Wright said.
Paired with the 24-hour strike, PPK workers have implemented an overtime ban to limit requests from management to add more to their workloads.
“Dale McNamara wants to be a local leader in the Hunter, regularly running for election. Well maybe he should start closer to home and start showing some leadership at his own business,” Mr Wright said.
The Australian Workers Union in Tomago will join The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union in Pork Kembla on Thursday to rally with PPK for a fairer deal to meet the rising cost of living pressures.