November 19, 2019
BHP has announced the company’s Australian head Mike Henry will become CEO, replacing Andrew Mackenzie in the new year. Here are five things mineworkers should know about him:
1. He’ll be earning a bucketload
Between salary and bonuses, Mike Henry will be raking it in. Henry’s remuneration package includes a base salary of $2.4 million and the potential for a short term cash reward of another $2 million. His long-term bonus could be as much as $4.8 million, or two times the base salary, but is subject to shareholder approval. Outgoing CEO Andrew Mackenzie will be leaving with shares worth a cool $37 million.
2. He likes cutting workers’ wages though
Mike Henry is the architect of Operations Services, BHP’s new in-house labour hire subsidiary which sees BHP outsource workers to itself for much less pay than permanent workers. OS workers are paid about $50,000 a year less than permanent coal miners on union-negotiated site agreements and miss out on a range of conditions including accident pay, bonuses and a day off at Christmas. They can be transferred anywhere in Australia at the company’s discretion.
3. He’s held lots of senior BHP jobs already
Originally from Canada, Mike Henry joined BHP in 2003. Earlier in his career, he worked for Mitsubishi Corporation and his first exposure to BHP was setting up BMA, its joint venture with Mitsubishi in the Bowen Basin. He then went to work in BHP’s energy coal business. He has held a range of roles in the company including President Coal from 2015 to 2016 and his current role as President Operations, Minerals Australia. So, you can be assured that BHP cutting thousands of permanent jobs and replacing them with casual labour hire in recent years has been done under Mike Henry’s watchful eye.
4. It’s all about cost-cutting
Mike Henry has come to the job promising to focus on cost-cutting and productivity improvements – that’s corporate code for cutting wages and jobs. When he says, “I am convinced that we are going to unlock even greater value,” he doesn’t mean value for workers and communities. He’s talking about the kind of value for shareholders that will see those bonuses delivered. He also says that ‘safety’ and ‘social value’ are top priorities, but we’ll believe that when we see it.
5. He’ll be hearing from us!
At BHP’s AGM in Sydney a couple of weeks ago, our union reps cornered Mike Henry during the tea break to question him about the treatment of Operations Services workers at BHP mines. We had four attendees at the AGM, questioning directors and executives about the poor treatment of OS workers and the very high turnover and staff shortages on OS crews at coal mines in NSW and Queensland, affecting production. Unsurprisingly, the answers were rehearsed and non-committal. Northern Mining and NSW Energy District Vice President Jeff Drayton, who represents workers at BHP’s Mount Arthur mine in the Hunter Valley, questioned Mike Henry about the way OS workers are kept separate and can’t mix with other workers on site, and are made to live in hotels with a long ‘milk run’ to and from work at both ends of the day.
One thing is for sure, no mining CEO has ever come to the job wanting to do more for workers. We’ve had to fight all the way and that’s what we’ll keep doing!