CFMEU: BMA's Blackwater mine dumps staff for contractors

THE 306 permanent positions being replaced by contract workforces in the pre-strip, mobile maintenance, and drill and blast operations at BMA Blackwater Mine, are not "just a shirt change".

CFMEU district president Steve Smyth said while he had been in Blackwater for the past month he had spoken with people who had interviewed for the positions.

"They're all casual hire at Downer, none of them are getting permanent jobs," he said.

"All the people that are going for interviews, I spoke to a bloke, he said they're only getting employed casually.

"That means by the hour."


FAIR GO: Signs have been erected around Blackwater, after negotiations for BHP Billiton’s next enterprise agreement started on Thursday.
FAIR GO: Signs have been erected around Blackwater, after negotiations for BHP Billiton’s next enterprise agreement started on Thursday. Meghan Kidd


Mr Smyth said you could turn up to work, and be turned away.

"Why would people move to town when you're only employed as a casual worker with no job security?" he said.

Mr Smyth said BMA's latest decision to introduce a separate agreement for its Blackwater Mine was just another kick in the guts for the community.

"If you look at the overall picture, to contract out the workforce, that's the first thing, then on the back of that their overall plan is to move away from an agreement that covers all the mines," he said.

BMA asset president Rag Udd said under the new enterprise agreement Blackwater Mine would be separated from the other BMA sites in the Basin to "support operations at that mine with its lower-quality coal products which receive lower prices".

Mr Smyth said the company was using the downturn in coal prices to justify the action regardless of production records broken at site.

"BMA are profitable, just not profitable enough. When you give them $10 they want $11," he said.

"They try to justify it with Blackwater's coal quality, which in our view is nonsense.

"The current agreement they work under has delivered record profits, record production and everything you'd want out of the workers you have.

"What have the people of Blackwater done?"

Topics:  bhp biliton mitsubishi alliance coal employment mining

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