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Thousands of mine workers will be sacked due to Fair Work changes

Gregory Crinum Coal Mine
Coal mine

A high number of resources employees will be terminated if workplace changes are approved.

The nation’s new “same job same pay” rules could prompt mining companies to replace existing staff with a lot more external workers.

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and other industry groups warn the Fair Work Amendment Bill will initially cause mass redundancies.

“[Forcing labour hire companies out will bring an] immediate loss of tens of thousands of jobs,” MCA said in a Department of Employment and Workplace Relations submission according to News Limited.

Proponents could find ways to introduce other contractors, resulting in fewer direct positions.

“[There will be] further outsourcing and, ultimately, less secure and less well-paid jobs,” MCA said.

There is also potential for weaker project finance, reducing the number of new mine developments across the nation.

“The Bill will have a direct impact on investment decisions – there will be less new investment in Australian projects,” the submission said.

“Companies will weigh up the marginal benefits of a new project in Australia, compared to an equivalent investment elsewhere.”

Meanwhile, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker recently began examining BHP’s alleged underpayment of 170,000 public holiday leave days to 28,500 current and former staff.

“Our concern is how can there be an oversight and a mistake that runs for 13 years without there being negligence and neglect on the part of the company,” she said according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The contractual “error with the employment entity” also impacted up to 3420 OZ Minerals team members who will soon become BHP employees.

They are based at the following newly acquired BHP operations:

  • Prominent Hill, 650km northwest of Adelaide
  • Carrapateena, 160km north of Port Augusta
  • West Musgrave, 500km west of Uluru
  • Carajás East and West, Brazil
  • Gurupi Province, Brazil.

The multinational promised to contact those affected “as soon as possible”, establish both a telephone hotline and website, and provide updates during its full year results announcement in August 2023.

“We are sorry to all current and former employees impacted by these errors. This is not good enough and falls short of the standards we expect at BHP. We are working to rectify and remediate these issues, with interest, as quickly as possible,” BHP Australia president Geraldine Slattery previously said.

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