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Issue #1542      4 April 2012

BHP takes negotiations backward

Queensland’s Bowen Basin coalminers last week took strike action after BHP management tried to destroy several months of progress at the negotiating table.

Workers at BHP’s central Queensland mines proceeded with industrial action in response to management going back on in-principle clauses previously agreed to with its workforce.

CFMEU Mining Division district president Stephen Smyth said workers were shocked and appalled by BHP’s tactics during union efforts to resolve the dispute over a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.

“The representatives from the Single Bargaining Unit went to the negotiating table with the aim of discussing with the company how to end this dispute,” Mr Smyth said.

“Instead management presented workers with clauses that take negotiations back months by attempting to force employees into family-unfriendly rosters. Publicly management continue to parrot lines that they want to resolve this dispute, that they’re prepared to listen after 16 months of failing to do so.

“But today they offered no progress on matters in dispute and instead went back on their word, screwing up clauses that were already agreed to in-principle.

“The level of contempt they’re showing for their workers is truly astonishing.”

The CFMEU has submitted notices advising the company of protected action stoppages.”

“It’s now very clear that BHP’s corporate headquarters are calling the shots and they seem unconcerned about safety or family-friendly rosters.

“For them it’s just ensuring they can squeeze all they can from this mining boom ahead of all else.”  

Next article – WA $2,000 offer “a slap in the face”

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