MORE than a hundred miners have downed tools at Boggabri Coal Mine, in protest over the workplace agreement on offer from Idemitsu, which they say could see locals turfed in favour of fly-in fly-out workers.
At midday on Tuesday, production at the mine stopped as about 125 workers gathered on a picket line at the site's gate.
The Leader understands about 350 workers have threatened to continue the industrial action until Thursday, which is when the company will next meet with union officials.
CFMEU northern NSW mining president president Peter Jordan said there were a number of key issues the company was refusing to budge on, such as allowing for a seven-on/seven-off roster, which would open the door for fly-in/fly-out workers.
"Idemitsu is being that belligerent about it, you have to question why they are so insistent," Mr Jordan said.
"Is it their intention to have fly-in/fly-out workers at the mine site?
"The current five-on/four-off roster doesn't cater for FIFO workers, because they don't get enough of a break. If the company can use a seven-on/seven-off roster, they could start engaging FIFOs until locals no longer get a look in."
Mr Jordan said Idemitsu was also refusing to allow the Fair Work Commission to act as the arbitrator in disputes between the company and its employees.
The other sticking points include overall remunerations, providing additional training for workers and bonuses.
"Our members are considering further industrial actions if those meetings on Thursday don't progress the major issues," Mr Jordan said.
"The members have made it clear to the union that unless the two big ones, the roster and the arbitration are resolved, there will be no real resolution in foreseeable future. Hopefully they come back to the table with something more reasonable."
An Idemitsu spokesperson said the company would "continue to negotiate with its employees in good faith".