Klop that! BMA wives strike again

Leslie West, Maureen Johnson and Renee Hughes holding the rejection letter from Marius Kloppers.
Leslie West, Maureen Johnson and Renee Hughes holding the rejection letter from Marius Kloppers.

HELL hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Or, in the case of the three wives of BMA employees, rejected and "palmed off" to a middle-management representative of the coal mining giant after they flew to Brisbane and stormed the company's state headquarters.

The next step for the trio, Leslie West of Emerald and Maureen Johnson and Renee Hughes of Dysart, in their quest to bring BHP chief executive Marius Kloppers to Bowen Basin towns was to yesterday crash the company's annual general meeting in Melbourne.

"We're just going to see if we can get the opportunity to ask a question," Mrs West said yesterday morning.

"I know the chances are small, but we're going to try."

The women, who describe themselves as "just a bunch of mums", called on Mr Kloppers two weeks ago to visit towns such as Emerald, Blackwater, Moranbah and Dysart but on Monday received a letter declining the invitation.

Mrs West said this was the second attempt.

"This isn't about coal mining, it's about the towns," she said.

"I think something needs to be done. It's not just BMA or BHP, it's the price of rent, the price of real estate, the ability to get into the doctor when you're unwell..."

Skyrocketing housing rents, predominantly fly in, fly out workforce rosters and social infrastructure being put under immense strain as a result of transient workers in Bowen Basin communities were the main concerns of the trio's delegation.

A separate, but related, issue was the enterprise agreement their husbands are yet to sign as part of ongoing negotiations between the company and the Single Bargaining Unit.

"I think it's something that is going to have an impact on all the mining communities, even after the enterprise agreement with BMA is complete," Mrs West said.

A BMA spokeswoman yesterday confirmed the company received a letter from the delegation, and Mr Kloppers had responded.

"Members of the BMA leadership team met with the delegation who visited Brisbane and have offered to meet again with the group," the spokeswoman said.

"We are committed to working with the communities in which we operate and engaging with community members."

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