NEGOTIATIONS for the next BHP Billiton Enterprise Agreement started on Thursday and when it comes down to signing on the dotted line, a separate agreement for Blackwater Mine could mean "devastating effects for the entire region".
BMA asset president Rag Udd said the current agreement was finalised at times with "considerably higher prices and margins" and the company had to do "considerably more to ensure our operations are globally competitive".
Under the new agreement, Blackwater Mine will be separated from the other BMA sites in the Basin to "support operations at that mine with its lower-quality coal products which receive lower prices."
CFMEU district president Steve Smyth has been back in town for a month and said this and the company awarding a contract position for 306 jobs was "almost unbelievable".
"Here, the feeling at the moment from workers is 'they want to isolate us and pick us off'," he said.
He said he couldn't see workers willing to sign a separate agreement which could mean less stability.
Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd and Gregory MP Lachlan Millar also weighed in on the issue in today's Blackwater Herald.
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