BMA coal strikes at Goonyella

Workers at the Goonyella coal mine picketed yesterday as industrial action escalates.

Stating that ongoing industrial action is a last resort, the Single Bargaining Unit (SBU) has again rejected enterprise agreement offers by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) to end the strike, the CQ News reports.

Meeting with unions yesterday, the miner put forth a counter offer to the submission made by the unions on Monday.

However, Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union vice president Glenn Power said they collectively rejected it the basis the terms outlined in the agreement weren’t right for us”.

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

The SBU claim that BMA is failing to listen to workers concerns, as they ask for more of a say in rostering, stating that the miner is attempting to change the work place and make it less family friendly by introducing different shifts and employing more fly in fly out workers.

On 28 June, it announced a series of rolling strikes across a number of BMA’s Bowen Basin coal mines.

But the miner has hit back branding the SBU’s move and its continued work stoppages as’irresponsible’.

“The unions’ decision is inexplicable and inconsistent with their statements at the time of employee ballots that ‘protected action is only assessed by members as a last resort’,” a BMA spokesperson told the CQ News.

“They remain unable to explain to the company the reason for the current action.

“In response to a request from the unions this week for further paid, report-back meetings, BMA confirmed its agreement to the request, offering an additional set of paid meetings at the end of July,” the spokesperson said.

Power labelled the moves by BMA as devious, and accused the miner of losing sight of the issue.
While he conceded that some headway had been made, the major concerns were still a sticking point.

“(The SBU) have made progress on some things, just not the big ticket items. We might discuss things like training and development of employees and think we’ve made progress, but when the negotiators go away and write it up, what they bring back to the table doesn’t capture anything we’ve discussed.”

CFMEU district president Steve Smyth said the rolling strikes will continue.

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

Negotiations are set to continue, as BMA say they “will not walk away from ongoing negotiations or its offer to accelerate discussions in spite of the unions’ notice of further action”.

“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 company said.

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