BHP coal operations in Central Queensland.
BHP coal operations in Central Queensland.

Union warns BHP 'cheap move' campaign is just the start

THE CFMEU has lodged a dispute with the Fair Work Commission and will call on the highest levels of government to intervene over what it claims is BHP's "sneaky new wage-cutting trick”.

CFMEU Mining and Energy launched its bold national campaign "Cheap move from the Big Australian” on Friday, targeting BHP's new subsidiary, Operations Services.

The campaign claims workers hired by Operations Services "wear BHP uniforms, perform the same tasks as BHP employees, but are paid 40 (per cent) less”.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland district president Stephen Smyth said they also miss out on important working conditions like accident pay.

"We've just had a mine reset and BHP don't want to pay accident pay if someone gets hurt? That's disgraceful, that's un-Australian,” Mr Smyth said.

A BHP spokesman said Operations Services was a team of "directly employed, permanent BHP workers on market competitive rates”.

Cheap move from the Big Australian ad: CFMEU calls out 'dodgy' move against miners in new campaign
Cheap move from the Big Australian ad: CFMEU calls out 'dodgy' move against miners in new campaign

"Operations Services is giving people the opportunity to apply for permanent roles with BHP, which offer job stability, a competitive salary, performance related bonuses, flexible work options and permanent entitlements including paid parental, sick and annual leave, and access to the company share program,” the spokesman said.

"The CFMEU has been calling for more permanent jobs and less casual employment in the resources industry for a number of years. 

"It is odd that they would now launch a campaign against the very thing they were calling for - more opportunities for permanent full-time jobs, which is exactly what these BHP Operational Services jobs provide.”

Mr Smyth warned Friday's launch of the advertising campaign across print, television, radio and digital media was just the start of action that would continue over "the next few months, if not years, until we get some justice”.

"We hope the Federal Government intervenes ... They can fix it by changing the employment law,” he said.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland District president Stephen Smyth
CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland district president Stephen Smyth. Melanie Whiting

Mr Smyth said he had raised the issue of increased casualisation in the mining sector with Resources Minister Matthew Canavan after the May federal election, but action was yet to be taken.

"(People like Dawson MP) George Christensen have come out and said 'we're all here for the coal industry'. They were there for the coal bosses, I don't know about the coal mine workers,” Mr Smyth said.

Senator Canavan said the LNP had a detailed plan to end casualisation in the mining sector.

"We introduced the Fair Work Casual Conversion Bill in 2018 to give casual workers in the coal industry the right to convert to a permanent job. Unfortunately the Labor Party did not support this legislation,” he said.

A spokesman for Mr Christensen said he was ready and willing to listen to the CFMEU and Mr Smyth's concerns.

"As yet, Mr Christensen has not been approached by the CFMEU, but decided to approach them after hearing about the issue via the media,” the spokesman said.