CFMEU mine protests boil over as two men charged

MILITANT CFMEU rabblerousers allegedly engulfed in one of the state's most hostile mining disputes have been charged by police as questions are asked about regular payments made to protesters.

Just weeks after The Courier-Mail revealed protesters had threatened to rape children, physically assault and intimidate those crossing a picket line at Oaky North mine, in central Queensland, police have officially laid more charges.

One man, 40, has been charged with making threats and will appear in Emerald Magistrates Court on December 19.

It is not clear what alleged threats he made.

Another man, 47, has been charged with trespass and will appear in Emerald Magistrates Court on November 28.

Many unionised workers have remained locked out of the Glencore mine for almost 150 days but about 260 workers cross the picket line every day.

For about 950 days, Glencore and the union have tried to find common ground on rights and conditions.

Sources reveal protesters have had their weekly payments increased from $1200 to $1600.

The payments are believed to come from the CFMEU to help protesters pay bills while they are locked out.

Questions are being asked in Canberra about whether the cash is being declared for tax purposes.

The union has refused to answer questions about the payments, including whether they are being taxed or will have to be repaid.

ACTU president Sally McManus.
ACTU president Sally McManus.

ACTU president Sally McManus formally asked members to donate cash to the protesters.

"Right now, there are workers across the country who are on the very front lines of the campaign to change the rules for working people,'' she wrote in an email to members.

"The workers have been locked out because Glencore wants to impose an agreement that offers worse conditions and rights than they currently have, and the workers have twice overwhelmingly voted to reject it.

"These union members are missing out on pay to take a stand against corporate greed. And they are up against a multinational that not only wants to slash the pay and conditions of its workforce, but has also been exposed in the Paradise Papers for their unscrupulous tax avoidance strategies.

"The workers are standing strong but they are starting to struggle. They've had no pay for more than three months. Imagine that?

"There's no pay coming in and the bills are starting to pile up. There is one thing working people have at these times and that's solidarity.

"Solidarity is supporting each other when times are tough. Let's show our fellow unionists we have their back and chip in."

The Australian Taxation Office has already ruled on strike funds.

"Although it is not the common practice, if a member has an expectation of receiving regular, fixed payments from the strike fund, and is accordingly able to rely on the payments for his or her regular expenditure, the payments will be assessable income."

Topics:  cfmeu editors picks mining union

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