January 9, 2024
BMA Rail Crew workers in Central Queensland may be left with no choice but to apply to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) seeking industrial action after negotiations broke down with BMA.
MEU Queensland District Vice President Shane Brunker says that members are concerned that BMA are attempting to negotiate a bottom of the barrel agreement that offers no job security, no protections and inadequate pay and conditions.
“Union representatives left the bargaining table gutted after negotiating in good faith and reasonably amending our claims, only to have the package rejected outright by BMA.
“Terms of the proposed agreement are well behind other rail companies in the black coal industry and the only concession BMA offered was that they would provide workers with backpay for up until 1 January 2024.
“This, frankly, is a slap in the face of our bargaining team who have been working in good faith to try and reach a deal we could all agree on.
“Where negotiations currently stand, BMA may be able to make unilateral decisions about shift start times which can have major implications for the health and safety of our members who work in an industry where fatigue is a serious hazard.
“BMA may also be able to require employees to stay in camp with unspecified time periods without pay.”
Mr Brunker also says that an industrial dispute has the potential to have significant impacts on BMA’s black coal production chain.
“BMA has had ample opportunity to meet us in the middle, but they have consistently disregarded our member’s claims.
“This has left our bargaining representatives no option but to consider next steps.
“We are urging BMA to come back to the table, show respect to the workers, and get this agreement back on track.”
“With soaring profits and high resources prices the workers who are the vital link in BMA`s Pit to Port Resource Chain deserve more respect. All these workers are asking for are industry standards.”
The agreement covers drivers who operate trains carrying coal across BMA’s Central Queensland mines.
84% of BMA Rail Crew workers voted down BMA’s initial offer in September last year.