Coal miners decide on strike action

Mining & Energy Union

Coal miners at four major Queensland mines will decide today which industrial action to take via a Fair Work Commission ballot.

Miners at Saraji, Peak Downs, Goonyella Riverside and Blackwater mines, 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.

Mining & Energy Union Queensland President Stephen Smyth said negotiations had not reached the point of discussing wage increases as the focus was on conditions, especially relating to job security.

“We had over a year of negotiations with BHP, then months more assisted by the Fair Work Commission, but BHP just aren’t listening,” said Mr Smyth.

“Job security is the biggest issue at BHP coal mines and our members will fight for permanent jobs. They’ve seen jobs around them axed and replaced by insecure, lower paid work.

“They’ve watched for a decade while permanent EA jobs declined to be replaced by labour hire. Then they’ve witnessed the shameless contrivance of BHP’s in-house labour hire provider, Operations Services.

“They’re not willing to settle for hollow promises anymore. They want hard protection built into the agreement around EA job numbers, redundancy protections and career progression.

“The BMA (BHP Mitsubishi Alliance) Central Enterprise Agreement is the biggest agreement in the Queensland coalfields and it sets the standard across the broader industry. BHP needs to come to understand the determination of our members to stand up for permanent jobs now and into 2023,” said Mr Smyth.

The Protected Action Ballot Order (PABO) is a ballot of all members asking them to nominate 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.

Voting commences on 14 October 2022 and ends 24 October 2022.

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