Near unanimous no vote sends clear message to BHP


Coal miners across BHP’s Bowen Basin coal mines have comprehensively rejected the company’s attempt to roll over the existing BMA Central Agreement without improving job security provisions.

The BMA Central Agreement covers direct BHP employees at Saraji, Blackwater, Goonyella Riverside and Peak Downs coal mines and is the biggest in the Queensland coal industry.

You can listen to part 2 of the extraordinary history of this Agreement in our latest podcast:

A ballot of workers between August 10 and 16 saw 1430 vote no to BHP’s proposed rollover and just 64 vote yes, delivering a strong 96% no vote.

Queensland President Stephen Smyth said workers had sent a clear message that they want genuine bargaining with improved job security the top priority.

The combined unions’ bargaining team, which includes representatives from each site, has proposed measures including:

  • permanent job numbers for the duration of the EA to stem the decline of permanent jobs
  • stronger redundancy protections
  • Clarity on current job security protections.

With growing threats to job security including increased automation and the growth of Operations Services, new measures in the Enterprise Agreement are proposed to strengthen job security of current employees and provide more pathways to permanency for labour hire workers.

Bargaining is also underway for new Operations Services Enterprise agreements and OS workers can get an update at ThinkFairBHP.org.au.


Back to issue: August 2021