Convention to consider future for mining and energy workers


It’s action stations in our National Office at the moment as we prepare for our National Convention next week.

We will have 300 delegates representing workers from mines, power stations and coal ports around Australia.

But like so many aspects of our lives over the past year, our plans have been affected by COVID.

Our Convention, which is held every four years, was due to be held in October 2020. We realised not long after the pandemic started unfolding that it wouldn’t be going ahead in the place and form we imagined. Even six months later, we have had to give our usual Convention format an overhaul to deal with constantly changing border closures and social distancing requirements.

The model we’ve come up with is regional hubs, so that people can still get together in person while we convene nationally via Zoom.

I mean, what could go wrong!?

Convention 2016

While I’ll be sweating on the technology, there are plenty of big issues up for discussion this time around.

As we flagged last year, our Convention will consider whether our Mining and Energy Division should make an application under new ‘withdrawal from amalgamation’ provisions in the Fair Work Act. This would lead to all members having a vote on our future as a mining and energy union.

As soon as Convention considers this question, we’ll let you know what is decided and what the next steps are likely to be.

We’ll be hearing reports about growth, achievements and challenges from all our Districts; we’ll discuss the future of our industries and the best ways for us to protect our Members’ jobs; and we’ll talk about the latest threats to the health and safety of mining and energy workers and how to keep pushing for continuous improvement.

Within the structure of the Mining and Energy Division, our quadrennial National Convention is the largest and most democratic forum we have. It ensures we have a broad and representative group of members providing input into our forward planning.

The resolutions taken by National Convention advise and inform our Central Council, which is the supreme decision-making body of the Union. Then our officials and staff set about putting those decisions into action.

Convention is sure to be a busy and exciting few days, but it has been many months in the planning. I’d like to thank everyone who has been working hard to make it happen. And I’m looking forward to reporting back to all Members on the discussions and decisions that take place (and a moment to recover).

Grahame Kelly

General Secretary

Northern Miners Delegate Board in 1896


Back to issue: February 2021