Gregory Crinum Mine workers will stop work today in the second of four union meetings across the Bowen Basin.
Gregory Crinum Mine workers will stop work today in the second of four union meetings across the Bowen Basin. Tara Miko

BMA mine employees stop work

INDUSTRIAL action across the Bowen Basin began yesterday as more than 400 mine workers converged on the Dysart Community Centre to discuss negotiations between their unions and employer BMA.

The CFMEU, Australian Manufacturing Workers and Electrical Trade Union members exercised their legal right following an overwhelmingly supported protected industrial action ballot last month.

CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth said workers seized the chance to get updated about the stalled six-month-long negotiations between resource conglomerate BMA and the unions.

“The blokes (members) certainly stepped up and have been paying attention to how things have been going,” Mr Smyth said.

“We’ve maintained full disclosure with our members about what we’ve been doing and what we’ve been negotiating during discussions with the company.

“They’re happy with how things are going, but there’s still a long way to go.”

Mr Smyth said yesterday’s meeting confirmed the support the unions have during negotiations regarding new enterprise agreements which the unions believed would reduce job security and introduce a new era of Howard-style Work Choices.

A paramount concern, he said, was the stipulation in the new EA that BMA would strip workers of their right to individual and freely chosen representation onsite.

“These are the big issues, and issues that our members know a lot about,” Mr Smyth said. “It is important for our members to know they have job security so they can continue to provide for their families, and to know they can freely elect any person they want to discuss and negotiate issues on their behalf.

“That is their right, and that’s what we’re fighting for in negotiations.”

BMA was contacted by the Central Queensland News yesterday for comment, but at time of print, no statement had been obtained.

During past EA negotiations, the unions have been permitted to hold mass stop work meetings onsite to discuss with members the new provisions.

However, BMA prohibited any such meetings which Mr Smyth said forced the hands of the SBU in taking protected industrial action.

Blackwater and Gregory Crinum mine workers will meet in Blackwater and Emerald, respectively, today.

It is unknown what implications the six-hour stoppages will have on BMA mine production levels.

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