Workers looking for clarity over BHP spin-off

THE Australian Workers’ Union has called on BHP Billiton to clarify the situation its employees face following the recent demerger announcement.
Workers looking for clarity over BHP spin-off Workers looking for clarity over BHP spin-off Workers looking for clarity over BHP spin-off Workers looking for clarity over BHP spin-off Workers looking for clarity over BHP spin-off

Illawarra Coal

Andrew Duffy

The union is looking to ensure current employee entitlements and enterprise agreements are transferred from BHP to its new venture, NewCo.

The AWU is also seeking clarity over the strategy and investment plans for transferred sites and operations.

“We are determined to get guarantees from management that not one employee will lose their entitlements in the transition from BHP to NewCo,” AWU national secretary Scott McDine said.

“The current enterprise agreements negotiated with BHP were negotiated in good faith and we have every expectation that they will remain untouched.”

In its initial announcement on Tuesday, BHP said workers at spun-off assets could expect minimal changes.

“Employees who join NewCo would have similar employment conditions that honour existing contractual obligations and all collective agreements would remain in place,” it said.

A BHP spokesman told MiningNews this morning that pay and leave entitlements would also be passed across.

“Employees joining the new company would receive equivalent base pay and recognition of existing leave accrual and leave entitlements and continuity of service,” they said.

Around 24,000 employees and contractors are expected to work at NewCo’s assets.

Along with ensuring contracts and conditions, the AWU said it wanted to make sure employees weren’t left in the dark regarding the outlook for their operations.

“The AWU will ensure managers of both BHP and NewCo are made acutely aware that workers need to be included in this process and will not be sold short,” McDine said.

Earlier this week BHP said it would spin off holdings in coal, manganese and aluminium into a new venture.

Perth-based NewCo will have assets in five countries and be led by current BHP chief financial officer Graham Kerr.

BHP said the spin-off would help unlock value in the non-core assets, while allowing it to focus on the four pillars of iron ore, petroleum, copper and coal, with potash as a potential fifth.

Key assets transferring to NewCo include the Cerro Matoso nickel mine in Colombia, Energy Coal South Africa, Illawarra Coal and the Cannington silver-lead-zinc mine.