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CFMEU wins appeal against BHP Operations Services

11 May, 2020Australian union CFMEU Mining and Energy has won an appeal against the approval of two enterprise agreements covering workers employed by BHP’s in-house labour hire provider Operations Services.

IndustriALL affiliate CFMEU Mining and Energy appealed with Australia’s industrial relations tribunal Fair Work Commission against the approval of two enterprise agreements covering workers employed by BHP’s labour hire subsidiary Operations Services.

The full bench agreed with several of the CFMEU’s grounds of appeal, including whether there was genuine agreement by workers and whether the agreements pass the ‘better off overall test’ compared with the Mining Industry Award and Black Coal Mining Industry Award.

CFMEU national president Tony Maher says that the decision is an important win, but that the fight is not yet over.

“This decision is a setback to BHP’s strategy to cut wages by employing people on non-union agreements through an in-house labour hire provider. BHP already has good enterprise agreements in place at its coal operations and their Operations Services employees deserve the same pay and conditions as those directly employed workers alongside them.

“Our message to Operations Services workers is that we are committed to bringing your pay and conditions up to par with BHP employees. Same work, same pay.”

Operations Services worker are currently deployed at BHP’s Mt Arthur coal mine in the Hunter Valley and a number of BMA coal mines in Central Queensland. The union is receiving reports about lower pay, a very high turnover and short-staffing at mines where Operations Services has been deployed.

“We congratulate our union brothers and sisters in Australia who are fight back against BHP’s greedy behaviour for which the workers are forced to pay the price.

“This is an important win and shows BHP that their disrespect for workers’ rights cannot continue.”

Mining giant BHP has a policy of outsourcing jobs; in comparison to an industry average of 30 – 40 per cent, at BHP managed sites 60 per cent of the workforce on average are contractors.