Rolling strikes begin at BHP mines today

The industrial action at BHP Billiton looks set to continue, with the announcement that a series of rolling strikes will begin tomorrow.

The disagreements between the company and the union reached fever pitch yesterday, with workers feeling ignored and disgruntled by the “PR machine.”

The strikes at the Bowen Basin mines began last week, as workers call for better pay in line with the company’s profits, more job security and involvement with rosters.

Part of their fight is believed to be around a proposed $5000 bonus for workers signing the new enterprise agreement being withdrawn.

The Queensland president of the CFMEU’s mining and energy division, Stephen Smyth, said employees want more job security and training and denied the issue was over the $5000 payment, which he described as "bribery", saying the dispute was not about a pay rise but job security and safety moving forward.

"We have not even turned out minds to a per centage of pay increase.

“It is also about protection of jobs and job security," he said.

Yesterday tha  CFMEU bsaid BMA is ignoring the main issues and failing to listen to workers, despite announcing progress was being made.

BHP said it thought real progress was being made in the meetings, and was shocked to hear the union is proceeding with the rolling strikes.

"The union’s decision to take further industrial action while negotiations are under way, and we are making demonstrable progress, is inexplicable," a BHP spokeswoman said.

"We are making every effort to increase the pace of negotiations and hold further meetings but the decision they have taken for further industrial action just seems to be aimed at disrupting further progress and causing financial harm."

The spokeswoman said BMA wanted the current agreement finalised as soon as possible and it will be in discussion with the unions this week over the pay rises issues.

BHP has offered annual pay rises of 5 per cent for its mines at Blackwater, Gregory Crinum, Norwich Park, Saraji, Peak Downs and Goonyella Riverside.

Mine employees are planning to walk off the job on the night shift tonight for 12 hours and repeat the action on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday nights.


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