QR may step into BMA coal strikes

QR national could reportedly help end the long running series of industrial disputes across BMA coal mines in the Bowen Basin.

The rail haulage company may ask Fair Work Australia to intervene in the enterprise bargaining negotiations by showing that the strikes have damaged its business, the AFR reports.

The company has reportedly already been forced to downgrade its earning due to the battle between BMA and the CFMEU.

Negotiations between the miner and the unions broke down again this week as the CFMEU carried out rolling strikes across mine sites.

According to the CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth, BHP put forth changes to previous areas of agreement, in particular areas that would diminish miners’ abilities to have a greater say on their allocated rosters.

"We had an agreed position on rosters but BMA changed their view," CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth stated.

"Before, they could trial rosters but could never implement them. Now they want to be able to enforce them." Stoppages will continue until tomorrow.

Smyth went on to accuse BMA of purposefully prolonging negotiations to drive up coking coal prices, adding that the miner has refused mediation.

We (the Single Bargaining Unit) have offered the company on two occasions to go to mediation but they have declined each time," he said.

"They don’t want a third party involved. They don’t even want the unions involved."

This was refuted by BMA president Stephen Dumble as the miner put forth a ballot to end the negotiations impasse.

Dumble added that the company can not compromise on issues central to its future competiveness.

According to a number of lawyers, QR has the right to intervene in these strikes and could even seek to have industrial action terminated.

While QR has declined to say whether it would intervene, CFMEU district president Steve Smyth acknowledged there was the potential for QR to step in.