March 29, 2023
BHP has suffered a major setback in its push to roll out substandard Enterprise Agreements for Operations Services employees, with Production workers voting no to the deal which includes no set pay rates or guaranteed pay rises.
Earlier in March, BHP put two agreements out to its Operations Services workforce, offering a $5000 sign-on bonus. While the Maintenance Agreement was voted up by employees, the Production Agreement was voted down.
Queensland Senior Vice President Mitch Hughes said the ‘No’ vote from production employees sent a strong message to BHP.
“BHP should listen to the message from these results that many of their OS employees are not happy with the employment model,” he said.
“This result will allow us to go back to the bargaining table and keep fighting for a better Agreement, as we also fight the unfair in-house labour hire set-up. BHP should not be allowed to continue to undermine wages and condition achieved through genuine collective bargaining by direct employees.”
During lengthy negotiations, the Mining and Energy Union has pushed for a strong and comprehensive Agreement for BHP OS Production workers.
BHP put forward a minimal ‘safety net’ Agreement that meant many key conditions were covered by company policy, not the Enterprise Agreement.
BHP did not include pay rates or guaranteed pay rises in the Agreements, instead only guaranteeing wages would be at least 5% above the Award.
BHP have already used their Company Policy to alter the conditions for Accident Pay, Long Service Leave paid as if at work, Christmas and Boxing Day payments and wage increases for Production workers.
It is disappointing that MEU members covered by the Operations Services Maintenance Agreement – which applies widely in Western and South Australia as well as Queensland – will now have their conditions locked in, unless the Agreement can be challenged, said Mitch Hughes.
“We will still be actively representing our Maintenance members as we go back to the table and get a better deal for Production members,” he said.
At the same time as representing OS members at the bargaining table, the MEU is still fighting for strong Same Job Same Pay laws to close the loophole that allows companies like BHP to get around collective agreements by outsourcing large parts of the workforce.
The Federal Government has committed to introducing Same Job Same Pay laws later this year, to prevent companies paying labour hire workers less than permanents when they perform the same work.