Miners walk off site

Hundreds of workers walked off the job at BMA’s Saraji mine after a spat between a safety representative and a supervisor.

250 workers reportedly walked from the site, threatening a three-day shut down.

According to the CFMEU, a safety health representative arrived at the mine near Moranbah to begin an inspection when management stood in his way.

CFMEU mining and energy division general secretary Andrew Vickers said the safety rep was verbally and physically abused by the supervisor.

"As I understand it, the broader membership (of the union) were becoming aware and found the whole thing intolerable.

"They called a meeting and voted unanimously for a 72-hour stoppage from 6pm (on Tuesday)."

News Mail reports that after workers started walking from the site, BMA went to the Fair Work Commission, forcing workers to restart at 2am.

Vickers said he was "appalled" a BMA supervisor would treat an elected safety rep that way.

"Had (the supervisor) been a member of ours and done this to management, he would be sacked or at least stood aside to be dealt with," he said.

"I understand the manager is still walking around the mine and management is taking a nonchalant attitude towards it.

"It's simply intolerable."

Relations between BMA and the unions have been strained for some time.

Late last year, BMA threatened to sue the CFMEU for $2.4 million for unlawful work stoppages.

For close to two years the CFMEU held rolling work stoppages across BMA coal mines after initial pay and rostering agreements broke down in 2010.

The long running industrial dispute lasted 23 months, and saw the closure of two mines, as well as the dumping of proposed coal projects.

The strikes are also believed to be behind BHP's recent decision to nix any new greenfield developments in Queensland, due to its inability to 'justify the cost' of the new projects.

Image: leighton.com

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.