A multinational mining company should join a wave of big businesses that have come clean about wage theft, a former coal mine worker has said.
Malcolm Roberts (pictured right) has urged BHP to follow the examples of Woolworths, Coles, Target and Supercheap Auto by admitting it underpaid “hard-working coal miners” and pay them back plus interest.
“BHP, the so-called Big Australian, has been exploiting labour hire coal miners for years through their unlawful, immoral and unethical behaviour, which has been a business strategy of BHP since at least 2015,” the One Nation senator said in a public statement.
Profits partly came out of worker pay
Roberts, who used to be general manager of Rio Tinto’s Gordonstone Coal Mine, believes BHP’s latest half yearly profit of $4.9 billion partly came from remunerating labour hire mine workers 40 per cent less than their permanent full-time counterparts who worked the same hours, conditions and job at the Mount Arthur Coal Mine, 123km northwest of Newcastle.
BHP also allegedly used contractors to create “sham” contracts that bypass a number of worker protections guaranteed under current industrial relations law.
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“It is shameful that BHP leaves a trail of exploited, abused and discarded workers while making billions of dollars profit,” he said. “We hope that the days of exploiting workers are over and that BHP and its contractors give a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”
Underpaying and denying workers their entitlements is illegal under the Black Coal Award according to the senator.