Community calls for end to BMA coal strikes

Mining community groups are calling for an end to the long running series of industrial action across BMA coal mines.

It comes as the unions and BMA joint venture operator BHP Billiton negotiations continue to falter following the CFMEU’s attempted blocking of a postal ballot for the new enterprise agreement and BHP’s announcement it is closing the Norwich Park coal mine.

However Moranbah Mine Workers’ Support Groups’ Megan Austin told the ABC that compromise is possible.

"We have worked together over previous years so it is not like it cannot happen," she said.

"In every [EBA] there has always a bit of tit for tat and it happens every time they come to this time in the agreement."

BHP has also seen strikes at its Port Kembla Coal Terminal and Illawarra coal mine; however it was able to negotiate an end to industrial action.

Austin pointed to instances such as these, saying that the ongoing industrial action in Queensland is taking a heavy toll on the community.

It is not just about the workers, there are families at home who are sitting behind our guys and our girls who are working out there," she said.

"Whatever happens throughout this [EBA] is going to affect all of us.

"It is not going to just affect the union members, it is going to affect the whole community.

"Whoever you work for, it does not matter."

The strikes have significantly weakened BHP’s coal division, with the miner saying that it is running low on coal reserves and sees no end in sight for the industrial action.

BHP blamed industrial action and heavy rainfall for the drop, adding "the extent to which industrial action will continue to affect production, sales and unit costs is difficult to predict however with inventories now severely depleted the impact on future quarters may be significant".

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