Mine workers to strike again

Peter Holt

WORKERS from BHP's seven Bowen Basin coalmines have voted to take further strike action to protest against the company's latest Enterprise Agreement offer.

At mass meetings at Moranbah, Dysart, Emerald and Blackwater workers overwhelmingly rejected BHP's latest offer and voted to take another seven-day stoppage to protest the company reneging on key in-principle agreements.

CFMEU District President Stephen Smyth said workers were "understandably furious" at the company after management went back on it's word during negotiations on important rostering issues.

After a delegates meeting in Mackay last Friday, the Single Bargaining Unit (SBU) held 'report-back' mass meetings across central Queensland to seek direction from its members.

Mr Smyth said members agreed to reject the company's offer and overwhelmingly voted to strike again.

"The workers are ropable that these negotiations have gone on for so long and just when they thought a resolution was getting nearer, the company comes back to the table having altered in-principle agreement clauses," Mr Smyth said.

"The company partly blaming industrial action in declaring force majeure this week didn't help. Force Majeure is declaring you cannot fulfill a contract for reasons beyond your control.

"The workers were insulted that BHP considers it somehow beyond its control to offer an Agreement that doesn't insult more than 90 per cent of its workforce.

"As BHP said previously, it never intended to bargain in good faith, 'not now, not next month and not next year'.

"Management are jut gunning to improve their record profits during the mining boom and they see smashing the rights of their workforce as a speed-bump along the way."

Mr Smyth said it was also disappointing to see BHP intending to ballot its workers during the school holiday period when many employees would be away with their families.

Topics:  bhp, bma, bowen basin, cfmeu



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