BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has commenced the process of renegotiating the BMA Enterprise Agreement 2012 that covers over 2000 employees at five of its Bowen Basin mines.
The Agreement (EA2012) has a nominal expiry date of 26 October 2015. BMA today issued Notices of Employee Representational Rights and has written to default bargaining representatives to arrange logistics associated with the negotiating process.
BMA Asset President Rag Udd said BMA was focused on delivering cost efficiencies and safe productivity improvements, and is seeking a simplified agreement to help achieve this.
“It’s a very challenging time in the coal sector as prices have deteriorated significantly in recent years. This year alone prices have declined by 25-30 per cent and we expect low prices to continue in the medium term,” Mr Udd said.
“The current agreement was finalised in a market environment with considerably higher prices and margins. It involved a lengthy and costly process that must not be repeated.
“While we have made progress over the past three years in increasing productivity at BMA, we must do considerably more to ensure our operations are globally competitive.
“It is important that our employment arrangements support our continued efforts to boost the productive capacity of our mines to compete globally and, as a result can continue to provide employment for the 9000 people who work for BMA in Queensland.
“We will be engaging with our employees throughout this process to ensure they understand the industry’s wider market context and receive accurate and timely information about the negotiations.”
BACKGROUND ABOUT THE DISCUSSIONS PRIOR TO THE NEGOTIATION PROCESS
The Notice of Employee Representational Rights is a formal process under the Fair Work Act to commence the bargaining process. In accordance with these notices, BMA is seeking coverage of its Enterprise Agreements that support our business focus:
– Gregory Crinum underground mine will not be included as it is ceasing operations in December 2015; and
– Norwich Park mine which was placed into care and maintenance in 2012.
– A separate Enterprise Agreement to cover its Blackwater Mine that supports operations at that mine with its lower quality coal products which receive lower prices.