The blockade on standby at Gregory Crinum mine in preparation for potential strike action.
The blockade on standby at Gregory Crinum mine in preparation for potential strike action.

Stop-work strike action only: SBU

BMA has applied for a traffic management plan at its Gregory Crinum mine entrance in anticipation of next week’s strike.

The CFMEU yesterday confirmed industrial action would take place from Tuesday, but assured its almost 4000 members were not intending to rally.

“There will be a work stoppage, but at this stage we do not intend to picket,” a spokesperson said.

“BMA contacted the council (Central Highlands) on the basis of getting some kind of traffic management barriers at its mine site. We have not once mentioned we are going to picket, it has only been mentioned by BMA.”

Saraji and Norwich Park workers will meet in Dysart on Tuesday, Gregory Crinum and Blackwater BMA workers will meet on Wednesday.

About 50% of the 1300 members from Peak Downs and Goonyella are expected to meet at the Moranbah Community Centre on June 18.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union assistant secretary Rohan Webb said members had voted in favour of the move to give them the opportunity to discuss the current negotiations.

“There will be a series of six-hour stop work meetings on every shift and every mine next week,” he said.

“BMA is arguing that contractors, labour hire and casuals should be on different pay and conditions from permanent workers.

“Having contract workers on cheaper rates of pay signigicantly undercuts not only the value of their work, but also the job security of directly employed workers.”

A BMA spokesperson said the company was “extremely disappointed” the unions resorted to the “unnecessarily aggressive action”.

“BMA has been continuing to negotiate in good faith with the unions, who have continued to undertake to us and their members ‘that protected action is only accessed by the members as an absolute last resort when all attempts to reach a negotiated outcome have failed and the SBU (Single Bargaining Unit) has scheduled negotiations until the end of July’,” the spokesperson said.

But the CFMEU said the resource conglomerate broke with protocol last week when it offered a “$5000 bribe to our members” on the condition they did not strike.

However, BMA justified the offer.

“In an effort to accelerate negotiations, BMA confirmed on Friday, June 3, a wages offer for its employees that will involve a 5% annual pay increase in addition to a $5000 sign-on bonus,” the company spokesperson said.

“BMA will continue to offer industry-leading pay and conditions and flexible roster and accommodation options so that we can attract and retain the skilled people we need to run our business.”

The CFMEU spokesperson said morale on the seven Bowen Basin mines had improved since the SBU filed the industrial action notice, and attributed the boost to workers feeling “something was being done for them”.

“The morale onsite has been the worst I’ve ever seen in the years I’ve been working in the mines,” the spokesperson said.

“Run into any permanent employee and they’ll tell you.”

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