Queensland coal strikes ‘may be only option’, Union says

Union negotiations at the BHP Billiton Mitsuibishi Alliance’s (BMA) Queensland coal mines have come to a standstill.

They claim that the miner may instigate an “un-family friendly” work roster system at its Queensland mines, similar to those in place in Western Australia, according to the Central Queensland News.

The union says it is trying to keep the existing work rosters and better job security, claiming that BHP is attempting to introduce a more fly in fly out (FIFO) and drive in drive out (DIDO) on site.

On Wednesday, unions announced that they were considering industrial action.

Construction, Forestry Mining and Engineering Union (CFMEU) Queensland district vice president Steve Pierce stated that BHP was refusing to listen to the “reasonable terms and conditions” for which the unions asked.

“Being such a large company I expect them to be more mature about how they conduct themselves at negotiations,” he said.

However, BHP stated the unions are trying to reintroduce outdated industrial practices that were “beyond reasonable expectations.”

According to the CQ News, close to 4000 miners will strike if BHP refuses to negotiate the issues with the CFMEU, AMWU and CEPU.

Pierce stated that BHP has also looked to bringing in supplementary workers, and though he understood the miner’s right to bring in whatever workforce it chose, “it should not be at the expense of permanent employees.”

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