Sacked labour hire worker returns to BHP mine

A sacked labour hire worker has returned to work at BHP’s Goonyella Riverside mine in a landmark win for casual labour hire mineworkers.

CFMEU Mining and Energy District Vice President Mitch Hughes said Kim Star’s return to work yesterday was an important milestone in the Union’s fight to improve rights for casual labour hire workers in the coal mining industry.

“We are delighted that Kim has been able to return to the job she performed for four years before being ‘let go’ for no reason almost a year ago,” said Mr Hughes.

“This is a great outcome for Kim and a great outcome for all casual labour hire mineworkers who live with the threat of being sacked for no reason at any moment.

“Kim’s return to work sends a strong message to the mining companies that they must stop treating labour hire workers as disposable.”

Ms Star was dismissed by her labour hire employer WorkPac in November 2017 after host employer BHP ‘demobilised’ her position without providing a reason.

CFMEU Mining and Energy successfully brought an unfair dismissal case and Ms Star was reinstated by the Fair Work Commission. Despite this order, BHP did not allow Ms Star to return to work. More recently, the Federal Court have issued orders against BHP restraining them from preventing Ms Star returning to work in her role at Goonyella Riverside.

BHP has actively fought the reinstatement, making an application to the Federal Court this week to prevent Ms Star’s return to work on legal technicalities.

“BHP has fought tooth and nail to prevent Kim’s return to work – not because of any reason given to Kim relating to her performance, but in our view to assert their right to hire and fire casual labour hire workers at will,” said Mr Hughes.

“We congratulate Kim for her determination and persistence during this lengthy process and we will continue to stand up against exploitation of casuals in the mining industry.”

/Public Release.