Dec 19, 2019

Christmas Q&A – Stephen Smyth

Christmas Q&A – Stephen Smyth

Stephen Smyth is the Mackay-based president of CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland. He joined iQ for a quick Christmas Q&A….

What was the greatest achievement or advance in your industry/organisation in the past year? The continuation of the implementation of new legislation and protections for mine workers around dust. The fact the coal ports and power stations are adopting a number of the new changes for dust and medical review. The introduction of Industrial Manslaughter into the mining sector to bring us in line with general workplace health and safety, to name a few. The wins we have achieved for union members with back pay cases, UFD, harassment and bullying cases, etc. Union membership continues to grow and we have growth rate of over 10 per cent in 2019. We will continue to build on this in 2020

What was the greatest challenge or failing in your industry/organisation in the past year? The greatest challenge is the continuation of the business model of LH and inequality of workers in the coal industry. The recent federal election was disappointing for the union and workers in general. Some of the policies presented by the opposition would have made a real difference for workers right across the country.

The industry downside is clearly the terrible loss of five coal miners who went to work and never returned home to family and friends. We must never forget the price that workers pay each and every day. This was a real industry failing.

What are your goals and expectations for 2020? Contribute to implement the unions plans and focus. This includes building greater density and ensuring all mine workers, port and power station workers have a real voice in their workplaces.  Continue to provide the service to our members, families and communities they live in.  We certainly are all focused on the next year ahead and look forward to the challenges it will bring.

How will you be spending the Christmas/New Year period? I will spend my time between fishing and crabbing and work around the house. Really just taking some time off.  Also, living in the best part of Australia NQ, just really enjoying what we have and being thankful for it.

What is your best/worst Christmas cracker joke? Worst joke – what do you get if you cross Santa with a duck? A Christmas quacker.

What is your favourite Christmas or New Year memory or tradition?Having eggs and ham for breakfast, followed by glazed ham for lunch finishing  the night off with prawns and trifle.

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