The CFMEU has slammed BHP’s decision to use 100 per cent FIFO labour ahead of locals from Central Queensland communities for work on two mines in the Bowen Basin.
BHP- Billiton had previously agreed to source 30% of the total workforce from the local township of Moranbah, in Queensland, to work on its Daunia and Caval Ridge mines, but the company stated that workforce conditions meant that this was not the best step.
Instead, workers will be flown in from Brisbane and Cairns, with the company starting a recruitment drive today, calling for qualified tradespeople with or without mining experience, to apply for the jobs.
Cairns.com.au reported that the resource giant has set aside 250 vacancies exclusively for tradespeople from the Cairns region.
14,000 Brisbane-based tradies have already applied for the remaining 750 jobs.
Miners’ Union national secretary Andrew Vickers said Bowen Basin locals were furious at BHP for shutting them out the recruitment process, especially after the company closed two nearby coalmines last year.
BHP closed both their Norwich Park and Gregory coal mine last year, resulting in hundreds of job losses.
“Giving preference to transient workers does nothing for nearby communities, many of which have ensured significant job cuts in recent months, particularly at BHP’s own operations,” Vickers said.
“By relying so heavily on FIFO, BHP is locking out local workers from the benefits and delivering more negative aspects of the mining boom the Central Queensland communities.”
The move by BHP to recruit a solely FIFO workforce for the two projects comes after a parliamentary report was released last week outlining the damaging impacts the transient workforce can have on regional communities.
“…for operational positions located near existing regional communities, every effort should be made to make FIFO/DIDO the exception rather than the rule," the report stated.
Vickers wants to see new mining applications that plan to use a FIFO workforce prove there is no alternative.
“The union strongly urges BHP to rethink its 100 per cent FIFO policy and we also call on the State Government to withhold approval of any new mine applications using only FIFO, unless the company can prove there is no viable alternative.”
Vickers said BHP’s decision shows ‘just how endemic the situation is in Queensland.”
BMA asset president Stephen Dumble says the new jobs will pump about $60 million into the Cairns region.
The positions are expected to be filled by June.