July 26, 2023
Operations Services production workers at Central Queensland mines have voted up a new agreement after pressuring BHP to improve its offer through taking industrial action.
Even though the Union advocated a ‘no’ vote, believing more could be achieved, Queensland Senior Vice President Mitch Hughes said OS members should be proud of their achievements.
“Our OS members have organised, taken action and won significant gains which will benefit all OS employees.
“They now have conditions which BHP resisted for five years until workers stood together through their Union and took industrial action.”
Gains include guaranteed 4% wage increases, paid flights, accident pay and greater certainty over job location.
BHP made the concessions and put the revised OS Production Agreement out for a vote after OS workers took industrial action, which began with bans and common crib times and built up to work stoppages. After the first four-hour stoppage at Goonyella Riverside, BHP reversed its long-standing refusal to offer guaranteed pay rises and offered 4% per year.
The OS Production Agreement, which covers workers at Blackwater, Saraji, Goonyella Riverside, Caval Ridge, Daunia and Peak Downs mines, still needs to be approved by the Fair Work Commission to ensure it complies with workplace laws.
MEU membership within OS has grown throughout the bargaining process. “More members mean a stronger voice for workers. We will continue to back our OS members 100% and keep standing up for rights, pay, conditions and safety,” said Mitch.
It is five years since the MEU first became aware that BHP had set up two fully-owned subsidiaries under the brand Operations Services, to provide labour hire workers to their mining operations on far inferior pay and conditions than permanent employees.
The MEU has been fighting this unfair employment model in the courts – successfully challenging BHP’s two original OS Enterprise Agreements; in the workplace – organising workers to improve their bargaining power; and in Parliament – campaigning for Same Job Same Pay laws to close the loopholes that allow companies like BHP to undermine collective agreements and pay labour hire workers less than permanent workers.
We encourage all OS workers follow and support our Same Job Same Pay campaign.