CFMEU blasts Norwich Park plan

Norwich Park is set to close. Photo Tara Miko / CQ News
Norwich Park is set to close. Photo Tara Miko / CQ News Tara Miko

THE CFMEU is seeking validation of leaked documents which suggest BHP is planning to de-unionise the Norwich Park pit after it closes next Friday.

District president Stephen Smyth yesterday said the five-year plan for the mothballed Dysart mine showed the company was planning to re-open the mine with a non-union workforce, despite assurances to the contrary.

"It's very clear to me that the company wants a non-union workforce," Mr Smyth said.

"Workers already held fears that BHP's decision to close Norwich Park may not have been purely for the operational reasons the company cited."

He said the plan was dated from the 2013 financial year.

BHP responded to media requests after deadline yesterday with this statement:

"BMA has no plans to restart Norwich Park with a new workforce.

"The decision to suspend production at the operation was based on a number of factors that were communicated clearly at the time the closure was announced. 

"This latest attempt to mislead BMA's employees needs to be seen in the context of the enterprise agreement ballot process currently being conducted by BMA."

BHP will be hit by an almost total workforce stoppage on Monday, as its seven Bowen Basin operations embroiled in enterprise agreement negotiations strike on Labour Day.

Rolling stoppages will hit from today with Gregory and Crinum workers and again on Tuesday, along with Blackwater.

Norwich Park, Saraji and Peak Downs workers will strike on Sunday.

Workers at Goonyella Riverside will follow on Wednesday.

But a CFMEU spokesman warned the stoppages could be pulled at any time.

The CFMEU yesterday won an interim injunction from the Federal Court in the case against a Norwich Park worker fired by BHP for waving placards bearing the word 'scabs'.

The hearing is listed for May 14 and 15. Both the worker and the CFMEU strongly deny the allegations.

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