The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Engineering Union
(CFMEU) foresees the prolonged labour dispute at the BHP Billiton
Mitsubishi Alliance (
) at the Bowen Basin coal mines may last longer, possibly until
the end of April.
CFMEU District President Stephen Smyth confirmed that more
strikes would take place this week while the negotiations for a
new enterprise agreement between BMA and the workers drag on for
more than 16 months.
Mr Smyth said beginning Thursday night until the Saturday day
shift, there would be about 36 hours of work stoppages at seven
mines. It combines a direct strike and rolling stoppages at
He justified the industrial action because of BMA's not
fulfilling several terms of the new agreement.
The miners sought public understanding for the industrial
action and insisted that they are not greedy for more money since
the issue is not about higher pay but more on work conditions
such as workers' power to reject the unpopular rosters and BMA's
obligation to help make available suitable accommodation for
their families. The miners pointed out that rentals in the area
have risen to $1,500 a week.
Rather than bring the proposed enterprise agreement to the
CFMEU, BMA brought the deal to a direct employee vote which would
be conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission. BMA said
because the vote would not involve the CFMEU, the company expects
the vote to finish by the end of April also.
Due to the strikes and heavy rains, BMA declared last week a
force majeure and advised its customers that it could not meet
supply contracts. Industry experts, however, said the declaration
of force majeure would have minimum impact on global coking coal