News

Mine strikers head back to work

THOUSANDS of mine workers at BHP Billiton's Central Queensland operations will head back to work today.

More than 4000 people have been on strike since March 27 after enterprise bargaining negotiations broke down in a 15-month long industrial dispute.

While workers will return to their jobs across seven mine sites, a ban on overtime is expected to stay in place.

But the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union or CFMEU say there will "definitely" be more industrial action before the end of the month.

The action affected all BMA sites in the Bowen Basin west of Mackay and Rockhampton.

For every day BHP Billiton is unable to export its coking coal, the company loses up to $20 million.

On Monday and Tuesday, CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth headed to Dysart, Moranbah, Emerald and Blackwater.

At those meetings, he said the union was again given a "mandate" to take whatever action was necessary to fight for workers and their rights.

On Monday night, BMA declared a "force majeure", a type of get-out-of-jail-free card when a company cannot meet its contracted conditions.

It is usually needed when a mine is struck by storms, flooding or damage is inflicted on its export facilities.

A BMA spokeswoman said "all Bowen Basin products" fell under the declaration, following the union's industrial action and heavy March rains.

The company took this route, in 2008, 2010 and 2011 following severe flooding and storms in Central Queensland.

Mr Smyth said the mining giant was showing contempt for its buyers by using industrial action to call a force majeure when it was not willing to negotiate.

"We're suspicious of everything that BHP does at the moment," Mr Smyth said.

"Obviously they're having issues with the coal supply but at the end of the day, with the force majeure, they're talking about things outside their power.

"They have the ability to enter negotiations.

"It's squarely on their shoulders."

Mr Smyth said a decision was yet to be made on what industrial action the union would take.

BMA declined to comment, but will take its proposed deal to the workers through a secret ballot towards the end of April.
 

Topics:  bhp billiton, central queensland, coal mines, strike




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Windows auto updates could cost users hundreds of dollars

IT expert says upgrade impacts 400 million people world wide

LISTEN: CQ coal industry to benefit from moves by China

Norwich Park coal mine near Dysart in the Bowen Basin will close in May.

Steps to address an oversupply in coal supplies look to have worked

Police investigating alleged assault of hospital staff

Rockhampton Hospital. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin

"We are supporting the staff member involved ..." CQHHS

Latest deals and offers

Billy Slater talks Origin Team

Queensland Origin great Billy Slater.

Queensland Origin great Billy Slater talks about this years team and his return to...

Road rage caught on Dashcam

Attack with a baseball bat caught on Dashcam

Video of a violent road rage incident in Orange last December.

Greg Inglis inside Maroons Training Camp

Queensland Centre Greg Inglis

Queensland Centre Greg Inglis gives his view of first training session.

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked