Unionists picket Moranbah

THE industrial war in Queensland’s Bowen Basin is heating up, with unions staging a picket line at Moranbah after becoming frustrated in their enterprise bargaining negotiations with the BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi alliance.
Unionists picket Moranbah Unionists picket Moranbah Unionists picket Moranbah Unionists picket Moranbah Unionists picket Moranbah

Union members, image courtesy of the CFMEU.

Lou Caruana

Hundreds of BMA employees from Bowen Basin mines representing three unions started protection action stoppages at 5am today following a series of stoppages earlier this month.

Steve Pierce from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union allegedly told the ABC BMA was failing to listen to workers' concerns.

"There's a sense of absolute frustration," he said.

"They're saying job security is a big issue for them and BHP need to understand that the issues they're raising and the concerns they're raising about job security are not issues that they've raised lightly.

"They intend to demonstrate to BHP that the issues of job security, representation and roster concerns that they have are real issues for them.

"By doing a public demonstration they're hoping that BHP local management will at least take the message back that these people are fair dinkum."

A spokesperson for BMA told ILN that

in response to a request from the unions this week for further paid report-back meetings, BMA confirmed its agreement to the request, offering an additional set of paid meetings at the end of July.

"The company’s offer was conditional on cessation of the current industrial action to allow scheduled negotiations through to the end of July to be concluded before any further industrial action is considered," the spokesperson said.

"The unions again rejected the offer and instead reconfirmed their intention to continue industrial action.

"The unions’ decision is inexplicable and inconsistent with their statements at the time of employee ballots that 'protected action is only assessed by members as a last resort'. They remain unable to explain to the company the reason for the current action.

"BMA will not be distracted by this industrial action. We have offered additional meeting dates to the unions, we have put our wages offer on the table (five per cent a year for three years) and we will continue to do everything possible to further accelerate negotiations, resolve outstanding concerns and finalise an agreement as soon as possible."

said the company had no comment on the picket line today.

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