Union workers and representatives attended the BHP Billiton annual general meeting in Adelaide today to protest against 100 per cent FIFO hiring practices.
Representatives of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) attended the meeting to bring a petition against the practice to the BHP board members’ attention.
A spokesman for the union said 14 CFMEU members, who are also BHP shareholders, were present at the meeting to represent workers from BHP mines in QLD (Goonyella Riverside, Blackwater No.1, Gregory, Saraji, Peak Downs), NSW (Westcliff Colliery, Mt Arthur) and WA (Nelson Point Port Hedland).
General vice president of the CFMEU’s Mining and Energy division Wayne McAndrew also attended the meeting to seek discussion with the board about the perceived mistreatment of workers and communities as a result of 100 per cent FIFO practices at the new Caval Ridge and Daunia coal mines in Central Queensland.
“Compulsory 100% FIFO discriminates against local workers who can’t apply for jobs in mines near their communities, and it also denies FIFO workers any choice about their lifestyle and where they live,” said McAndrew.
“In the Central Queensland mining town of Moranbah local workers who want a job at these new mines would have to first fly to Cairns or Brisbane and then fly back to work, where they can’t stay with their family but instead have to live in camps.
“This is an absurd situation which shows the lack of respect BHP has for workers and the communities near its mines.”
McAndrew said the policy removed choice from FIFO workers about where they liveed, in the event workers wished to move closer to the mines rather than near Brisbane or Cairns.
“BHP is at serious risk of tarnishing its reputation if it continues to alienate its workers and the communities near its mines.”
Australian Mining spoke with coal joint venture BMA earlier this year, which made the following statement:
“Across BMA’s eight operating mines in Central Queensland, 90 per cent of our 10,000 employees and contractors live locally or commute from CQ coast communities of Mackay, Whitsunday and Rockhampton region and 10 per cent fly-in-fly-out,” a spokesman said.
“BMA made a careful and considered decision to operate our newest mines, Caval Ridge and Daunia, with remote workforce arrangements for a range of reasons, including the ability to source a diverse workforce, and to operate the mines safely, productively and efficiently.
“With more than 30,000 applicants for the 1,000 roles, the Daunia and Caval Ridge Mines comprise a diverse workforce made up of 25 per cent women, 5 per cent indigenous background and almost 50 per cent who are new to the mining industry – enabling the benefits of the mining industry to be shared more widely across the state.”