EA battleground widens
Key wage agreement rejected by workers after more than two years of negotiation
Wednesday 05 July 2017
After more than two years of negotiations, employees at the Peak Downs, Goonyella-Riverside, Blackwater and Saraji mines have voted against a revised Enterprise Agreement (EA) put forward by BMA.
While BMA says the new EA has only “minimal” changes, the CFMEU’s Mitch Hughes told media the new deal proposed by BMA would diminish job security.
“It makes it easier to make permanent workers redundant while keeping contractors and labour-hire workers,” he said.
“[BMA will be able to] unilaterally change rosters without major agreement for a "trial" for up to six months, and offer accommodation arrangements outside the proposed agreement at the company's discretion.”
However a BMA spokesperson said the changes to the old agreement were modest and designed to allow them flexibility in a volatile global mining environment.
"The agreement we proposed reflected these objectives,” he said.
“It retained existing provisions from our current Enterprise Agreement, with only minimal changes, while providing employees with wage increases over the life of the EA.
"The increases were in line with conditions that have been reached in other coal industry agreements, with underlying wages and conditions better than most other agreements.
"We will continue to engage with our employees and their representatives to find a path towards a new agreement.”
A similar deadlock between workers and their employer Glencore was responsible for rolling interstate strike action by the CFMEU throughout June.
A fortnight ago Glencore locked striking employees out of the Oaky Creek North mine because they claimed the picket line was affecting their workforce and had cost more than 6000 person hours.
Like at BMA the dispute is over new conditions in a proposed new Enterprise Agreement which Glencore says provides flexibility.
"We remain available for meaningful discussions with the CFMEU in pursuit of a modern, flexible Enterprise Agreement at Oaky North that is not only consistent with agreements accepted by the CFMEU at other mining operations but also maintains wage levels that are currently around $100,000 higher than the average annual Australian wage,” Glencore said.