BMA coal strikes ongoing

Miners are carrying out further industrial action at BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) coal mines in the Bowen Basin.

Negotiations broke down again last week, with mining unions carrying out their threat of rolling strikes across BMA coal mines.

According to the CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth, BHP put forth changes to previous areas of agreement, in particular areas that would diminish miners’ abilities to have a greater say on their allocated rosters.

"We had an agreed position on rosters but BMA changed their view," CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth stated according to the CQ News

"Before, they could trial rosters but could never implement them. Now they want to be able to enforce them." Stoppages will continue until tomorrow.

Smyth went on to accuse BMA of purposefully prolonging negotiations to drive up coking coal prices, adding that the miner has refused mediation.

We (the Single Bargaining Unit) have offered the company on two occasions to go to mediation but they have declined each time," he said.

"They don’t want a third party involved. They don’t even want the unions involved."

This was refuted by BMA president Stephen Dumble as the miner put forth a ballot to end the negotiations impasse.

Dumble added that the company can not compromise on issues central to its future competiveness.

"We want to build a business focused on the future, with more opportunity and choice for our employees," he said.

"This enterprise agreement will assist in maintaining and building communities, by offering enhanced choice and benefits for those who elect to commute.

"The benefits of the agreement are competitive and provide a pathway to a better future, BMA will be asking employees to judge whether the agreement provides a fair and competitive outcome for them, their families and their future."

This is just the latest round in close to 18 months of enterprise bargaining negotiations between the two groups.

Another series of meetings will be held at mines today and Tuesday to try and overcome the latest stumbling block in the 18 month fight, according to the ABC.

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