BMA workers head back to the ballot

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance has claimed a minor victory in its long-running industrial dispute with the unions after Fair Work Australia ruled in favour of holding a postal ballot on a new workplace agreement.
BMA workers head back to the ballot BMA workers head back to the ballot BMA workers head back to the ballot BMA workers head back to the ballot BMA workers head back to the ballot

BMA's development projects in the Bowen Basin.

Lauren Barrett

BMA confirmed to ILN that it had received confirmation of the FWA’s ruling today, which was met with a positive response from the company.

“BMA is pleased with the outcome at Fair Work Australia and that the postal ballot on the enterprise agreement will proceed,” a BMA spokesman said.

The industrial dispute between BMA and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union at BMA’s seven Bowen Basin-located mines has been running for more than 16 months, resulting in a handful of strikes after failed negotiations over the EA.

To date the CFMEU has rejected the new EA proposed by BMA, with the main sticking points including housing, safety representatives and equal pay for equal work.

In addition the unions claim the EA grants the workers fewer entitlements.

If the workers vote in favour of the EA in the upcoming ballot, it would put an end to the bitter dispute.

The ballot will open on April 27 and close on May 18.

While BMA welcomed FWA’s move to approve the postal ballot, CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth was not as thrilled because postal ballots were usually unreliable.

“Our preference is always for an attendance ballot but it will be what it will be and we'll just have to work around it,” Smyth reportedly told the Australian Associated Press.

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