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Authority approves better wages, entitlements across industry

BHP Operations Services worker
BHP Operations Services

Resources employees will be remunerated the same even if they work externally.

Authorities recently approved new rules that prohibit mineral producers from giving different wages and entitlements to direct- and labour hire- staff.

The Australian Parliament passed the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill, which ends so-called outsourcing exploitation at mine sites.

Other Same Job Same Pay (SJSP) measures in the legislation include:

  • crimininalising superannuation theft
  • criminalising industrial manslaughter
  • stronger rights for workplace delegates
  • better support for first responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder
  • including silica-related diseases and safety at the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency
  • crimininalising wage theft with harsher civil penalties, especially if proven to be intentional
  • greater protections against discrimination for employees facing family and domestic violence.

Central Queensland labour hire operator Brodie Allen believes the changes will significantly increase workplace morale.

“There are thousands of workers like me who have been labour hire for years. We have been treated as second-class citizens for too long,” he said in a public statement.

“This is a great day because we now have laws to stop big mining companies paying us less than the permanent workers beside us. It is a fantastic Christmas present.”

The Mining and Energy Union (MEU) and Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) applauded every federal representative who supported the bill.

“We thank those senators who have seen through the big mining companies’ multi-million dollar bullsh-t and supported a fair go for Aussie workers,” MEU general secretary Grahame Kelly said.

“This will be a major win for working people and a huge Christmas present for so many,” ACTU secretary Sally McManus added.

The remarks came after BHP discovered wages need to increase by more than its previously anticipated $1.3 billion due to the bill.

“We therefore expect a significant upward revision to our initial costing … [and] the significant increased labour cost of SJSP will not be accompanied by any associated increase in productivity, indeed it will most likely decrease productivity,” the employer said in a submission to the Senate inquiry into the Fair Work legislation amendment.

The proponent expects to cover rising costs through deferring or cancelling investments, and even closing mines with “uncompetitive” underlying cost bases.

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