Union launches anti-BHP ad campaign




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The mining union has launched an ad campaign accusing BHP Billiton of trying to buy the votes of its striking Queensland workers.

The union move comes as almost 3000 workers at BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance mines are preparing yet another strike on Friday over pay and work conditions.

The new strikes represent a follow through of CFMEU mining and energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth’s threat earlier this week that the ongoing industrial action at BMA sties could escalate.

Smyth said the union was angry that despite making a $23 billion profit this year BHP had backed away from a commitment to family-friendly rosters and a fair housing policy.

He also told News Ltd reporters it was unacceptable the company wanted miners to work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

“Christmas and Boxing Day have traditionally been the only two days of the year the mines have shut so workers could be guaranteed time with their families,” he said.

“This agreement insults miners’ families and ignores their basic right to spend time together.”

The union ad campaign will cover television, radio, and newspapers.

The BMA has tried to work around unions and is asking workers to vote on its current proposal at the end of the month.

BHP has been tight lipped to the media over its negotiations with workers and the impact of the strikes on its production.

A spokesperson for BHP said earlier in the week the company was awaiting the worker vote later this month, and CEO Marius Kloppers said the strikes were having only a “modest impact” on production.

Worker disquiet in Queensland’s coal region has also spread to New Hope Corporation’s New Acland mine, where miners there are also considering strike action.

Yesterday a majority of the mine’s workforce rejected the company’s pay offer and workplace agreement.

Union officials said workers at New Acland had been underpaid in comparison to other miners.

New Hope said it had negotiated with workers in good faith and offered a pay rise of 5.5 per cent this year, with a further nine per cent increase over the next two years.

Another round of negotiations between the company and workers is scheduled for next week.

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