Bowen Basin workers call on PM to support local jobs

Tony Abbott’s opening of the Caval Ridge coal mine has
prompted workers to urge the prime minister to stand up for local jobs, as he
tours the Bowen Basin town of Moranbah today.

CFMEU Mining and Energy district president Stephen Smyth
said the region has not recovered from BHP’s decision to cut 700 permanent jobs
from across its Bowen Basin coal mines last month.

Despite its proximity to the town of Moranbah, locals are
not allowed to apply for jobs at the 100% FIFO mine Caval Ridge.

“Prime Minister Abbott should use his trip to Moranbah to
pull BHP into line on jobs,” Smyth said.

“BHP insists all employees must live in Brisbane or Cairns
to work at Caval Ridge, denying mineworkers real choice about their work and
living arrangements.

“They are locking locals out of work opportunities at a time
of great need for jobs.”

BHP has also readvertised for jobs in its Bowen Basin mines through labour hire companies for less money, jobs that were previously held by permanent staff in the same mines.

“Labour hire is no substitute for permanent, secure
employment,” Smyth said.

“We are finding permanent jobs replaced by labour hire
positions on far lower pay without job security.

“Mr Abbott has an obligation to the people of Queensland to
stand up for their interests in the face of powerful mining companies like BHP.

“We hope he takes the time to find out what’s really going
on in the Bowen Basin and pull BHP into line.

“He must insist BHP prioritise permanent, secure jobs and
stop locking local workers out of job opportunities.”

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry, who has
campaigned against the 100 per cent FIFO policy, will also be at the opening of
the mine site.

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