High-level talks between BHP managers and union officials in Sydney during the previous week have been unable to resolve the enterprise bargaining dispute that caused the recent seven-day coal strike at the company’s Queensland mines. BHP said it had lost production of 425,000 tonnes of coal during the strike at a cost of between $30 million and $36 million.
BHP's managing director and chief executive Paul Anderson met the ACTU secretary Greg Combet and officials from all BHP unions in an effort to find a resolution to the crisis.
The result of the meeting appears to have been a worsening of the stand-off between the two parties. BHP is accused of taking a hard line and being aggressive and intransigent. Meanwhile, BHP’s mine and port stockpiles are nearly exhausted.
In a blow to union pressure to reject BHP’s offer, workers at BHP's Appin mine in the NSW Illawarra region have voted in favour of a new enterprise agreement. The performance-based agreement will deliver $3000 up-front pay rises, annual increases of between 4%-4.5% per cent and superannuation increases. Tower colliery workers rejected the deal.