BMA enterprise agreement comes unstuck

THE uncertainty in the Australian coal industry that has seen more than 900 job losses in the past week has not stopped unions throwing out a proposed enterprise agreement by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance despite reaching an in-principle agreement last month with the help of union veteran Bill Kelty.
BMA enterprise agreement comes unstuck BMA enterprise agreement comes unstuck BMA enterprise agreement comes unstuck BMA enterprise agreement comes unstuck BMA enterprise agreement comes unstuck


Lou Caruana

Delegates from the three single bargaining unit unions – which includes the powerful Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union – have decided they cannot support the latest proposed agreement put forward by BMA.

CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth said delegates had taken issue with some aspects of the proposed agreement and the unions had sought amendments from the company before they would be prepared to recommend members endorse the deal.

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 for the EA negotiations covering six central Queensland coal mines.

Union representatives are still scheduled to meet rank-and-file members before the end of this month to discuss the proposal.

“In line with terms of the mediation process, the union will not publicly discuss specific details of the proposed offer in order to give the parties the best chance of reaching agreement,” BMA said.

BMA told ILN it was honouring its agreement with the unions not to discuss mediation until it was resolved.

BMA and the unions have been locked in an acrimonious industrial dispute over the EAs for more than 20 months but have eventually come together under pressure from Kelty and federal Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten who is keen to avert any further loss of valuable coking coal exports from the BMA mines.

Those affected are Blackwater, Crinum, Goonyella Riverside, Gregory, Peak Downs and Saraji, while its Broadmeadow mine falls under a different workplace agreement.

BMA put its Norwich Park mine on care and maintenance earlier this year because it claimed rising costs and escalating industrial action over the EAs made it uneconomic.