BHP workers support new EA that sees permanent jobs grow

Mining & Energy Union

Workers at four BHP mines in Central Queensland have voted up a new Enterprise Agreement (EA) that guarantees growth in permanent job numbers.

Voting by workers at Goonyella Riverside, Saraji, Peak Downs and Blackwater mines concluded at midday on Thursday, with a majority voting in support of the new agreement.

The new EA:

  • requires BHP to hire 105 new EA positions across the four sites within the first year
  • guarantees that EA numbers don’t fall below current levels across all mines
  • provides for one-for-one replacement of EA employees within the same mine site and work area

MEU Queensland President Stephen Smyth said these job security measures would reverse the trend of declining permanent jobs at the large Central Queensland mines.

“Negotiations for the new EA were long and tough; but members said that standing up for permanent, secure jobs was their top priority and we were able to achieve some important protections,” said MEU Queensland President Stephen Smyth.

“BHP will no longer be able to cut permanent jobs and replace them with labour hire. Maintaining permanent jobs will be a priority when there is a labour surplus and EA jobs lost through attrition must be replaced by EA jobs.

“These are important provisions that will ensure there are more pathways to permanency.”

The three-year Agreement also includes:

  • Annual pay rise of 4% (with the first increase back paid to March 2022)
  • $2000 Sign-on bonus
  • Voluntary early retirement scheme
  • Improved protections to ensure training of permanent employees

The new EA introduces a new four-level classification structure for new starters, based on skills and length of service. BHP will be required to move new starters through the classification levels with no more than two years spent at each level.

“Overall, it’s an agreement that grows permanent jobs, gives workers a pay rise and contains improvements in a range of areas from redundancy pay to union rights,” said Stephen Smyth.

“There’s no doubt BHP is a tough negotiator. But members have achieved a result that will have a positive impact across the four mines and the broader Queensland coal industry.

“I thank the bargaining committee for their hard work and our members for their determination to take action in support of their claims,” said Stephen Smyth.

/Public Release.