Maintenance workers at an unprofitable coal mine in Western Australia's southwest have vowed to appeal a Fair Work Commission decision to terminate their current enterprise agreement.
Griffin Coal, owned by India's Lanco Infratech, applied for the commission's intervention after more than 12 months of unproductive talks with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union about a replacement agreement for its Collie mine.
After Griffin Coal president Raj Kumar Roy complained about high wages, which were the company's biggest operating cost and had been exacerbated by the mining boom, commissioner Danny Cloghan agreed to terminate the enterprise agreement.
In handing down his decision last week, commissioner Cloghan said it would result in reduced conditions for workers but was not contrary to the public interest.
AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney described the move as an outrageous attack on the workers and their families, and a kick in the guts to the Collie community.
"We'll be seeking an injunction and appealing the decision to the full bench, as well as pursuing a fair replacement agreement for these workers," Mr McCartney said.
The commission heard Griffin Coal had racked up about $290 million in losses over the past five years and was only surviving with the financial support of the parent company.
While the company contended the termination was "necessary but not sufficient to improve efficiency and productivity", it would make jobs more secure, commissioner Cloghan said.
Mr McCartney also criticised the state government for not having a transition plan for Collie.
In April, Treasurer Mike Nahan flagged mothballing part of the Muja power station near Collie under sweeping changes to an oversupplied energy market, prompting local MP Mick Murray to question the town's future.