September 21, 2022
Miners covered by the biggest Enterprise Agreement in the Queensland coalfields are set to vote on taking industrial action after BHP failed to make commitments to support permanent jobs.
Our Queensland District has lodged an application to the Fair Work Commission for a Protected Action Ballot for workers covered by the BMA (BHP Mitsubishi Alliance) Central Enterprise Agreement, which covers Saraji, Peak Downs, Goonyella Riverside and Blackwater mines.
When negotiations stalled after 15 months of talks, the Union’s bargaining team agreed to assist in negotiations with BHP in the Fair Work Commission, which took place between June and September.
However, after three months of assisted negotiations, it was agreed that not enough progress had been made and that members should get a say on taking protected industrial action to further their claims.
Queensland President Stephen Smyth said that negotiations had not reached the point of discussing wage increases as the focus was on conditions, especially relating to job security.
With a steady decline of permanent EA jobs over the last decade due to labour hire, automation, and the introduction of BHP’s in-house labour hire provider Operations Services, members are determined to protect and restore permanent jobs.
“There’s no question that job security is the biggest issue at BHP coal mines,” said Stephen Smyth. “Our members have seen jobs around them being cut and replaced by insecure, lower paid work. They want to protect permanent jobs by building protections into the Enterprise Agreement regarding EA job numbers, redundancy protections and career progression. “BMA Central is the biggest agreement in the Queensland coalfields, and it sets the standard for across the industry. BHP shouldn’t underestimate the determination of our members to stand up for permanent jobs now and into the future.”
The Protected Action Ballot Order will allow for a ballot of all members as to what sort of industrial action they are willing to take. Members will be advised when the ballot begins, and all members are encouraged to participate for a strong result and united campaign.