The CFMEU may take legal action to prevent up to 20 forced redundancies at BHP’s Hay Point Coal Terminal.
In May, the company announced one labour hire and 19 permanent workers would be axed, releasing a letter this Tuesday – signed by Hay Point general manager Peter Hanrahan – confirming the decision, in a report by the Daily Mercury.
“Today the company has made the decision to move directly to implementation of the roster change and automation of the dump station,” the letter said.
“Once the necessary number of employees have been selected for forced redundancy, crew make up will be assessed. Changes to crews will be needed to ensure that we have the necessary skills mix on each crew.”
The roster change is effective from the 16th of July.
Stephen Smyth, CFMEU Mackay district president, said permanent employees should not be cut as the company is capable of selecting labour hire first.
“We’re going to exhaust all avenues we can, including legal action,” he said.
“But the employers are hell bent on getting to the end goal without wanting to listen to their employees or the representatives who are working through this process, (who are trying to) get to the bottom of being able to mitigate and avert this decision made by the company, but also make sure the workers are not put at risk.”
Despite the letter not providing the exact number of redundancies, it is believed it may be less than the 20 initially suggested.
Hanrahan said in a statement, “We’re continuing to work closely with our employees and their representatives on the changes we announced on 10 May which involve roster changes and further system automation.”
“We understand this can cause concern for our employees and their families – non-voluntary redundancies are always the last step in a process like this.”
Earlier in May, the company’s asset president Rag Udd said the changes were required due to continued low coal prices and to improve cost efficiency and production. The cuts are set to enable workers to have four, instead of five panel rosters.
This also follows the company’s decision to replace unionised tugboat provider Teekay with the non-unionised Rivtow, with Maritime Union of Australia’s state secretary Bob Carnegie claiming BHP BMA plans to de-unionise its workforce.