BHP ‘out of touch' as union strike

A seven-day strike will begin tomorrow across BMA’s Bowen Basin operations.
A seven-day strike will begin tomorrow across BMA’s Bowen Basin operations.

MORE than 4000 mine workers are at risk of losing a substantial pay increase and sign-on bonus as union leaders refuse to budge during enterprise agreement negotiations.

It follows the threat from the powerful CFMEU last week it would execute a seven-day stoppage at all BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance mine sites across the Bowen Basin from tomorrow.

BMA has maintained its stance on the stalled bargaining talks and warned further industrial action would do nothing to expedite the negotiations.

"Further industrial action is unnecessary and would be harmful for all concerned," a BMA spokeswoman said.

"As the record has shown, it will not help resolution of an agreement."

The latest enterprise agreement ballot results last week showed an overwhelming majority of permanent BMA workers rejected the offer from the company.

A staggering 82% of unionised workers voted down the offer, with the company gaining 10% more support as 17% voted in BMA's favour.

"This result proves BHP is still radically out of touch with its workforce, an overwhelming majority of whom is still not prepared to give up crucial conditions around safety, rosters, housing and equality for contractors," CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth said.

"BHP should take a good hard look at these figures and realise that it needs to start working with its employees rather than trying to take things away from them."

BMA asset president Stephen Dumble on Monday hit back at recent union claims that the company was holding safety issues ransom to employees.

Mr Dumble said the unions' attempt to paint BMA's ability to attract and retain key skills as a safety issue was "misleading".

"The current BMA enterprise agreement negotiation is at an impasse over exactly this type of issue, where unions want to ignore current market and employment trends and instead preserve a status quo position for their own industrial ends," he said.

"The issue in question is too important to be caught up in this way.

"It is a real issue which demands a real solution."

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