More coal strikes for Bowen Basin

Failed union negotiations have lead to another series of strikes at Bowen Basin coal mines.

The BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) coal mines will see around 3000 miners stop work from this Friday, according to the CQ News.

It follows the Single Bargaining Unit’s (SBU) meeting with BMA representatives in Rockhampton to negotiate new enterprise agreements.

Negotiations failed last week after the unit accused the miner of not taking their concerns seriously.

The SBU claim that BMA is failing to listen to workers concerns, as they ask for more of a say in rostering, stating that the miner is attempting to change the work place and make it less family friendly by introducing different shifts and employing more fly in fly out workers.

On Monday, Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union district president Steve Smyth said that no progress has been made in these most recent round and the unions will again be “forced to file for protected industrial action”.

“We filed the notice at five to five Monday afternoon so we could give the required three full days notice,” Smyth said.

“It’s just disappointing that the company is well aware of what the sticking points are and they continue to not want to negotiate, in our view, in a positive manner,” he previously stated.

The negotiations, which have been ongoing since December last year, have only recently resulted in cross mine work stoppages and strikes.

This latest round of industrial action will start with 12 hour stoppages at the Blackwater coal mine on Friday and end with strikes at the Gregory Crinum coal mine on Monday morning.

BMA hit out at the unions claims last week, stating that they have been committed to “increase the rate of progress” in the discussions.

A spokesperson from the miner said it will negotiate with the SBU “even more intensively over the next few weeks”.

In a major concession for the unions, Fair Work Australia has now allowed them to meet and represent its members in the lunchrooms of non-authorised mine sites.

It changed legislation enabling employers to ban unions from lunchrooms and The Australian Workers Union says the decision by Rio Tinto to allow its first union agreement in nearly twenty years, will set a precedent for the industry.

However, the Australian Mines and Metals Association slammed the decision, saying the precedent put lunchrooms across the country in danger of being politicised.

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