More than 300 workers waved signs at the union protest line near Moranbah on Wednesday morning.
More than 300 workers waved signs at the union protest line near Moranbah on Wednesday morning.

BMA workers protest

MORE than 300 BMA workers downed tools and formed a protest line on the outskirts of Moranbah early Wednesday morning, expressing their support for the Single Bargaining Unit’s stalled negotiations with the mining company.

In a move the resource giant has slammed as “irresponsible”, the SBU’s three union members – the CFMEU, AMWU and ETU – have continued to roll out 12-hour work stoppages across the Bowen Basin, including total overtime bans at seven BMA mine sites.

“The unions’ decision is inexplicable and inconsistent with their statements at the time of employee ballots that ‘protected action is only assessed by members as a last resort’,” a BMA spokesperson said.

“They remain unable to explain to the company the reason for the current action.”

The spokesperson said continued industrial action would “only serve to cause further financial harm”.

“In response to a request from the unions this week for further paid, report-back meetings, BMA confirmed its agreement to the request, offering an additional set of paid meetings at the end of July,” the spokesperson said.

BMA conceded the offer was conditional to allow negotiations to continue until the end of July.

But CFMEU district vice-president Glenn Power said the conditions of the offer proved BMA had lost sight of the fact the 3500-strong union member workforce had supported industrial action at the June ballot.

Mr Power said the tactics used by the company were “mischievous and devious”.

“We (the SBU) have made progress on some things, just not the big ticket items,” he said.

“We might discuss things like training and development of employees and think we’ve made progress, but when the negotiators go away and write it up, what they bring back to the table doesn’t capture anything we’ve discussed.”

Mr Power said the company was trying to “put a picture across” of the unions that was incorrect.

“They have a very narrow-minded view of what is happening,” he said.

BMA’s Blackwater, Gregory Crinum, Norwich Park, Peak Downs, Goonyella Riverside and Saraji mines will variably hold 12-hour work stoppages and execute total unrostered overtime bans this weekend until Monday.

BMA will not comment on the production impact until its quarterly financial report is released later this month.

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