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Save Dave: Australian miner sacked after leading underwear protest

18 May, 2017CFMEU delegate Dave McLachlan was sacked after a shift of miners at Appin mine stripped down to their underwear in protest at the lack of work clothes.

More than 50 miners arrived for work at South32’s Appin Colliery in New South Wales on 7 March 2017 wearing their helmets, boots, jackets - and underpants. After 10 minutes, the miners put their old, dirty clothes back on and returned to work.

The novel protest was a humorous attempt to highlight the fact that South32 has for a year failed to honour its legal obligation to provide new work clothes. The company has also failed to provide a laundry service.

But instead of responding to the issue, South32 sacked McLachlan, claiming he brought the company into disrepute after pictures of the protest were posted online.

For ten years, McLachlan has been the rank and file union president on site for the CFMEU Mining and Energy division, an IndustriALL Global Union affiliate. He has worked at Appin Colliery for 16 years and has an unblemished work record.

McLachlan is a 30-year veteran of the coal mining industry and hard working family man. His family and his work mates are devastated by South32’s vindictive and callous attack.

The CFMEU has launched a campaign in support of McLachlan, and national president Tony Maher has written to CEO Graham Kerr, to urge the company to reinstate him.

Maher stressed that the issue would not go away, and that the company’s social license to operate is at risk. IndustriALL is supporting the campaign, and urging international solidarity to reinstate McLachlan.

In a letter to the company, IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches said:

“Dismissing Dave McLachlan for having participated at a short protest—which did not result in any lost time or impediment to coal production—and that was highly justified by the failure of the company to provide the laundry service and work uniforms that it is legally obliged to provide, constitutes a blatant violation of his fundamental labour rights.”

Take Action:

Stand with Dave and demand that South32 immediately reinstate him:

Suggested tweet:

#SaveDave: @South_32 must reinstate Dave McLachlan, sacked for protesting against the company’s failure to provide work clothes.