SBU continues the fight for conditions

MEMBER support for the Single Bargaining Unit’s ongoing negotiations with resource giant BMA continues to grow with the CFMEU revealing more mine workers are signing up.

Workers at six of the seven BMA mines involved in enterprise agreement talks downed tools at the weekend and a picket line was set up at Saraji, which reflected the ongoing support of the more than 3000 union members of the collective SBU.

CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth said union membership grew daily as workers recognised the value of the protected industrial action rolling out across the Bowen Basin.

“This dispute is not about money but about workers’ conditions and the workers understand that,” Mr Smyth said.

“We (the SBU) will continue to do what we need to do to make sure the conditions are right for our members, and therefore the contractors at the sites, who all benefit from what we achieve in these negotiations.”

Mr Smyth said claims the SBU was fighting for a pay increase were the opinion of the “uninformed”.

“What these guys don’t realise is that the conditions they enjoy onsite are because union members before us fought for them,” he said.

“They (non-union members) can ride on the back of our guys’ stand for better conditions without doing any of the work.”

SBU delegates met in Rockhampton this week to strategise and plan for what Mr Smyth termed “possible escalations” of industrial action across the Bowen Basin.

A BMA spokeswoman yesterday said the company was “continuing to meet and negotiate with the unions,” with further meetings scheduled this month.

“Both parties have acknowledged BMA’s intention to have negotiations completed so as to allow employees to vote on a proposed agreement in early September,” she said.

“This is consistent with feedback that we are getting from employees who are expressing frustration about the time negotiations are taking and about the impacts of ongoing industrial action.”

The spokeswoman said the company was “doing all it can” to avoid further production disruptions at the mine sites.

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