Coal miners covered by the biggest Enterprise Agreement in the Queensland coalfields are set to vote on taking industrial action after BHP failed to make commitments to support permanent jobs.
The coal workers covered by the BMA (BHP Mitsubishi Alliance) Central Enterprise Agreement work at the Saraji, Peak Downs, Goonyella Riverside and Blackwater mines in Central Queensland.
The Mining & Energy Union (MEU) lodged an application to the Fair Work Commission for a Protected Action Ballot Order on Monday.
MEU Queensland President Stephen Smyth said that negotiations had not reached the point of discussing wage increases as the focus was on conditions, especially relating to job security.
“We had 15 months of negotiations with BHP, then another three months of negotiations assisted by the Fair Work Commission, but BHP refuse to do the right thing,” said Mr Smyth.
“With a steady decline of permanent EA jobs over the last decade due to labour hire, and the introduction of BHP’s in-house labour hire provider Operations Services; members are determined to protect and restore permanent jobs.
“There’s no question that job security is the biggest issue at BHP coal mines. Our members have seen jobs around them being cut and replaced by insecure, lower paid work.
“They want to protect permanent jobs by building protections into the Enterprise Agreement regarding EA job numbers, redundancy protections and career progression.
“BMA Central is the biggest agreement in the Queensland coalfields and it sets the standard across the wider industry. BHP shouldn’t underestimate the determination of our members to stand up for permanent jobs now and into the future.”
The PABO seeks a ballot of all members as to what sort of industrial action they are willing to take, including consecutive full-shift stoppages, part-shift stoppages, overtime bans, training, performing step-up duties and taking meal breaks at designated times.