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Northern Mining & NSW Energy

NSW South Western




Western Australia


Proud to be Union – 430 million reasons why

June 6, 2023

BHP has been left red-faced after admitting they underpaid mineworkers $430 million since 2010 due to wrongly deducting leave on public holidays.

This revelation would not have come to light if it wasn’t for a landmark legal win by our Union in the Federal Court clarifying employee rights around public holidays under the National Employment Standards.

The March Full Court decision in a matter brought by our Union against BHP’s labour hire subsidiary Operations Services found that companies could not automatically treat public holidays as work days without first asking employees to work the days, and employees having the opportunity to refuse that request.

BHP has admitted that since the National Employment Standards were introduced in 2010, almost 30,000 workers have been affected by having annual and/or sick leave incorrectly deducted. BHP say they owed each affected worker an average of six days’ leave due to incorrect poor payroll practices.

This revelation goes to show that we need to keep up the pressure on big companies like BHP to do the right thing.

Our Union will make sure affected members receive the entitlements they are owed. We are seeking further information from BHP about the detail of the underpayments and BHP’s approach to addressing them, including what information BHP intends to provide to employees. Most mineworkers know how challenging an offshore payroll system can be.

If you are a current or former BHP employee and have been affected by this underpayment, BHP will contact you in the first instance.

If you have been informed by BHP that you are affected and have concerns about how they’ve handled your matter, please review your pay records to identify the issues of concern and contact your District office.

This revelation reinforces importance of Unions holding our major corporations to account. It is only through legal challenges funded by Union members that we are able to expose substandard and unlawful employment practices and ensure workers get the entitlements they deserve.

We need to keep building our Union so we have a greater capacity to protect workers’ interests. This underpayment gives us another 430 million reasons to be proud to be Union.

Grahame Kelly – General Secretary

Grahame Kelly MEU National General Secretary

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