Maritime Union of Australia’s state secretary Bob Carnegie has claimed BHP Billition Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) plans to de-unionise its workforce following recent job cuts at the Hay Point coal terminal.
“What BMA are doing is subcontracting towage to Rivtow (Marine). Rivtow will then offer partnership arrangements on tugs. People become trustees and aren’t covered by the Fair Work Act,” Carnegie said, according to the Daily Mercury.
“They’re not employees, they’re trustees. What BMA are doing this for is to destroy trade union organisations in the tow industry.”
BHP responded to the comments, saying the expiration date for the towage services contract was June 30 2016.
The company added, “BMA is running a competitive tender process for the services and expects to announce a decision on the outcome of the tender in the near future.”
Last year BHP replaced their unionised tugboat provider Teekay with the traditionally non-unionised Rivtow, a subsidiary of Riverside Marine. The contract allowed Rivtow to operate 14 tug boats within Port Hedland.
BMA’s asset president Rag Udd preciously said the Hay Point changes were made due to challenging market conditions and they were working to improve cost efficiency and production.
Cost effectiveness was also cited as a reason for the replacement of Teekay workers.
Greens candidate for Dawson Jonathon Dykyj and ALP member for Mirani Jim Pearce attended a meeting today at the Queensland Council of Unions in Mackay to talk to union representatives and workers.