Coal miners ready to strike

Mining unions are coming together in preparation for a series of strikes at BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) coal mines.

A spokesperson for the CFMEU, a member of the Single Bargaining Unit (SBU), said they were confident they had enough numbers to strike if negotiations with BMA fail, according to the CQ News.

Following two days of negotiations, the SBU say they have not gained “virtually any movement on the main concerns.”

The unions claim that the miner may instigate an “un-family friendly” work roster system at its Queensland mines, similar to those in place in Western Australia.

It says they are trying to keep the existing work rosters and better job security, claiming that BHP is attempting to introduce a more fly in fly out (FIFO) and drive in drive out (DIDO) on site.

In May, the unions announced that they were considering industrial action.

According to the unions, they have more than half of support needed to legally take industrial action.
On hearing this, BMA reportedly contacted police regarding the potential strike.

However, Emerald police officer-in-charge senior sergeant Graeme Reeves told the CQ News that no preventative measures have been taken as yet.

“It has been advised industrial talks were being conducted throughout the state in relation to BMA,” Reeves said.

BMA stated that the discussions with the combined unions have reached a standstill.

“The unions are pressing claims that would create major cost, productivity and competitiveness impacts for the business, as well as wanting to reintroduce a range of outdated industrial practices,” a BMA spokesperson said.

“As these are beyond reasonable expectations, discussions have the potential to extend for some time.”

The SBU is tallying its votes for industrial action and will soon determine its course of action.