‘Is BHP the grinch who stole Christmas?’
Qld coal miners question BHP board at AGM
BHP shareholders were today told that the use of an internal labour hire subsidiary to cut the wages and conditions of workers at BHP coal mines was affecting production and damaging the company’s standing in mining communities.
A delegation of worker and community representatives – including two from Central Queensland – attended BHP’s AGM in Sydney today and questioned executives about issues including the roll-out of new labour hire subsidiary Operations Services (OS).
As well as working on much lower pay and worse conditions than direct BHP employees, the latest insult for OS workers is being told they must work Christmas Day.
Their questions covered the poor treatment of OS workers and the very high turnover and staff shortages on OS crews, affecting production. For example, OS crews at BHP’s Peak Downs mine are meant to have 51 people each, but currently only have fewer than 35.
Peak Downs mineworker and CFMEU delegate Scott Leggett, who travelled to Sydney for the AGM, said the OS workers beside him deserve the same pay and conditions as workers on BHP’s site agreement. Unlike permanents, OS workers have been told they must work Christmas Day – with some workers distressed at having rosters meaning they will work six of the next seven Christmases.
Scott Leggett challenged BHP executives and board members about whether they would be working six of the next seven Christmas Days, before asking: “Is BHP the grinch who stole Christmas?”
“I wanted to bring it to the attention of shareholders, the board and the wider community what BHP is doing to these people, it’s nothing short of scandalous,” he said.
“Come Christmas Day, I can guarantee the directors will be at home with their families opening their presents, while the OS employees will be at the pit sucking in coal dust.”
The Union has been told of very high turnover and short-staffing at all mines where OS has been deployed, with people leaving due to a range of issues including payment for flights being cut.
“Shareholders deserve to know that the loss of permanent jobs held by experienced workers is not only hurting those people but affecting the production prospects of the company,” said CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland District President Steve Pierce.
“Mining is hard work and if people aren’t getting the pay and conditions they won’t stick around. BHP needs the support of the communities it operates in. Alienating workers by cutting wages and cancelling Christmas is simply bad for business.”