Miners picket

GOONYELLA Riverside workers in Moranbah will picket from 5am today in the second round of protected industrial action.

Kept as a last resort by members of the Single Bargaining Unit, the picket line will be the first in the Bowen Basin with regards to stalled negotiations with the three unions and employer BMA.

The SBU, made up of CFMEU, AMWU and ETU members, have been involved in ongoing enterprise agreement discussions with representatives from the mining giant, but are increasingly becoming frustrated at the lack of progress.

The unions met with the company yesterday who tabled a counter-offer to the submission made by the unions on Monday.

But CFMEU district vice president Glenn Power said the unions had collectively rejected the offer.

“We rejected it on the basis the terms outlined in the agreement weren’t right for us,” Mr Power said.

“They’ve got to start listening to what we’re putting forward.”

A union member yesterday told the Central Queensland News the picket line at Goonyella Riverside showed the passion and commitment workers had toward reaching an agreement they believed was fair.

CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth said the union members, numbering in the thousands across the Bowen Basin, had the right to exercise protected industrial action, and that’s what they would do.

“As long as we keep getting stalled during negotiations, we will continue to keep our members informed of what the company is doing,” Mr Smyth said.

Since the SBU won the right to take industrial action through an overwhelmingly supported ballot on June 3, scheduled work stoppages have taken place at seven BMA mine sites.

However, today’s picket line will be the first physical appearance at a mine site which expressed worker’s frustration and angst at the failing negotiations.

BMA was yesterday contacted for comment, but by time of print, no statement had been received. But the company has issued a number of statements since the SBU won the right to take protected action and has maintained it was committed to resolving the enterprise agreements.

“BMA has also reiterated that it will not walk away from ongoing negotiations or its offer to accelerate discussions in spite of the unions’ notice of further action,” a spokesperson said last week. “The decisions on further industrial action does not in any way support that position and seems aimed at disrupting progress and causing financial harm.”

The resource conglomerate has repeatedly refused to comment on what impact the industrial action will have on the company’s income.

It said any impact would be detailed in the company’s next quarterly production report, due out next month.

AMWU members were also expected to strike at the Stanwell Power Station near Rockhampton today.

It is understood a rally was planned outside the Stanwell offices.


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