Union fight against BHP to drag on

INDUSTRIAL unrest at seven BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance coal mines in Queensland looks set to continue for some time, with a union rally this week gathering a crowd of 200 and half-shift stoppages already scheduled for next week.
Union fight against BHP to drag on Union fight against BHP to drag on Union fight against BHP to drag on Union fight against BHP to drag on Union fight against BHP to drag on

Union rally against BMA at Dysart. Image courtesy of the CFMEU.

Blair Price

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union officials will meet with BMA representatives again on Monday and Tuesday.

After more than seven months of enterprise agreement negotiations, BMA representatives are putting forward version seven of their proposed agreement.

CFMEU Queensland district president Stephen Smyth quipped to ILN that the union was still on version one of its proposed EA with just a few subtle changes.

The union has notified BMA that there will be half-shift stoppages at the seven coal mines from Wednesday through to Friday.

The half-shift stoppage at each mine will give the union the opportunity to hold mass meetings with each workforce.

Workers will be updated on the EA progress and can decide on any further industrial action.

Smyth said the industrial action could be stepped up by running consecutive shift stoppages.

So far the Peak Downs mine has had a consecutive day and night shift stoppage and every BMA union member at the seven mines has taken about 18-20 hours of industrial action over the past three weeks.

On Wednesday there were protest lines set up at the Saraji and Norwich Park mines and the crowd gathered at the protest line on the outskirts of the town of Dysart peaked at about 200 people.

Anti-BHP bumper stickers are in production and union print advertisements against the company have been published.

Before the industrial unrest started BMA offered a 5% per annum pay increase to the workers at each of the mines along with a $A5000 sign-on bonus. Smyth said the union was more concerned about getting the conditions in the enterprise agreement right.

BMA asset president Stephen Dumble has previously warned workers about the impacts industrial action would have on families and its business “particularly at a time when we are still recovering from this year’s unprecedented floods”

The encompassing central EA expired on May 16 and covers the Norwich Park, Saraji, Gregory, Crinum, Blackwater, Peak Downs and Goonyella Riverside mines.

Unlike previous disputes over EAs in the mining industry, the CFMEU has teamed up with the Electrical Trades Union and Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union to form a single bargaining unit with BMA over the central agreement.

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