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Think tank was wrong about labour hire rip-off says mining giant

BHP workers
Mine workers

A multinational resources company rejected new research that accuses the business of underpaying mine workers through outsourcing work.

BHP has questioned the credibility of the McKell Institute’s latest report that accused the mining giant of being one of the many proponents that allegedly used labour hire firms to deny up to $825 million in potential economic benefits from directly employing mine workers.

Permanent work

The company confirmed those who work for Operations Services are actually permanent employees, not labour hire staff.

“Operations Services workers are not on labour hire arrangements as is inferred by their inclusion in the McKell report,” a BHP spokesperson said in a statement. “As such we reject any parallels that are drawn.”

Strong interest

More than 53,000 jobseekers have applied for nearly 2000 advertised positions for Operations Services.

“[The interest shown] clearly demonstrates its success in delivering what regional Australians have told us they want, the stability of a permanent job and all of the benefits that gives them,” the spokesperson said.

“Operations Services is giving people the opportunity to apply for permanent roles with BHP, which offers job stability, a competitive salary, performance related bonuses, flexible work options and permanent entitlements including sick leave, paid parental and access to the company share program.”

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The remarks came after the Wage-cutting Strategies in the Mining Industry Report showed labour hire caused almost $283M in lost local business opportunities in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, nearly $297M in Queensland’s Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday areas, and up to $248M across Central Queensland.

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) believed the full impact could be nearly $1 billion if all regions are included.

“Anyone with any exposure to the mining industry knows the toxic effect that labour hire has had,” CFMEU mining and energy general president Tony Maher said in a public statement. “What this report does is lay out the total impact in stark dollar terms and it is brutal. If mining companies had continued to employ workers directly on existing site agreements the Hunter would be $250M better off this year and the regions surrounding Mackay and Rockhampton in Central Queensland would be over $500M better off.”

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