Dysart miner calls co-workers "scabs", won't return to job

A MAN from a Dysart mine who was fired after calling his co-workers "scabs" will not get his job back.

BHP Coal fired Henk Doevendans from the Saraji coal mine in 2012 after he held a placard stating "No principals Scabs no guts" during a CFMEU-organised rally.

Mr Doevendans had been working as a machinery operator at Saraji for about 24 years before he was sacked.

Saraji general manager Geoff Brick stated the word scab was "unacceptable in the workplace" when he sacked Mr Doevendans.

He said some staff complained about the sign and it was inconsistent with BHP's "expectation that each employee will treat others in the workplace with courtesy, dignity and respect".

"Scabs" placard at Norwich Park.

"The fact that Mr Doevendans held and waved the signs while participating in the protest organised by the CFMEU was not an operative part of Mr Brick's reasoning. Nor was the fact that the signs represented or advanced the views or interests of the CFMEU," he said.

However, the decision was not unanimous, with Justice Susan Crennan stating the evidence did not show Mr Doevendens was fired for any other reason.

"Mr Brick's evidence failed to prove that Mr Doevendans had been dismissed solely for reasons other than because of his engagement in industrial activity," she said.

A BHP-Mitsubishi Alliance spokeswoman said the decision supported its team's actions.

"The actions of BMA's management in regard to this matter have been upheld by the High Court," she said.

"BMA remains committed to upholding its code of conduct and running its business safely."

The CFMEU did not respond to a request for comment.


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