QMEB » Central Qld coal workers could receive up to $40K wage increase
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Central Qld coal workers could receive up to $40K wage increase

Peak Downs mine
Coal mine

Hundreds of resources employees might have their salaries significantly raised in Queensland’s Isaac region.

About 1700 crew members have jointly asked the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to approve pay rises across BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA’s) Goonyella Riverside (203km southwest of Mackay), Peak Downs (210km southwest of Mackay) and Saraji (231km southwest of Mackay) coal mines.

If the Mining and Energy Union’s (MEU’s) same job same pay application is successful each individual could be paid an extra $10,000 to $40,000 a year depending on their skills, roster, current remuneration and bonuses.

The application covers Chandler Macleod and Ready Workforce employees at Peak Downs as well as both WorkPac Group and Operations Services production and maintenance staff members at Goonyella, Peak Downs and Saraji.

“BHP has driven the casual labour hire model that has spread like a cancer throughout coal mining, driving down wages and job security across the industry … [and these] applications are a major step towards stamping out this model and closing the loopholes that have allowed BHP to avoid paying fair rates in site enterprise agreements,” MEU Queensland district president Mitch Hughes said in a public statement.

“BHP must accept that using labour hire purely to cut pay is out of step with community standards and is now out of step with the law.”

The proponent confirmed that it had already received copies of the applications.

“Our focus remains on building productive and equitable workplaces that provide opportunity and reward high performance, as well as supporting Australia competitiveness,” a BHP spokesperson said according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, a different same job same pay application was separately submitted to the FWC. That document seeks up to $25,000 a year more for about 50 WorkPac labour hire crew members at Bloomfield Group’s Rix’s Creek coal mine, 90km northwest of Newcastle.

FWC earlier rejected BHP’s request to approve a revised enterprise agreement covering its in-house Operations Services labour hire employees.

MEU expressed concern that the proposed deal was “not properly explained” to workers who could have lost important award conditions. The agreement was also “not genuinely agreed to” and ultimately dismissed by FWC.

“They would have been better off doing the right thing from the start and employing these workers under the existing arrangements at their BHP coal mines,” Hughes earlier said.

Click here to read the FWC’s full decision.

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