Local News

CFMEU launched attack on BHP's Mount Arthur Operations Services


Still of the CFMEU's advertising campaign.

The CFMEU has launched an advertising offensive against BHP and their new form of employment being rolled out called Operations Services.

The new form of employment was starting to be rolled out in December last year with BHP employing 50 people at Mount Arthur in Muswellbrook under the new program which they said would employ permanent workers on market competitive rates for jobs that would normally be outsourced to labor hire companies.

But the mineworkers union has labelled it as a “cheap move by the big Australian”.

“We’ve accused BHP many years ago of being very aggressive about converting good permanent jobs at the Mount Arthur mine into casual hire labor, they’ve been doing that sacking their permanent workers and simply transferring those permanent jobs into casual labour and now just recently they’ve had a change of heart,” said CFMEU northern district mining and energy secretary Peter Jordan.

“Now the change of heart has only come about because of the decision that the union got after many years that seriously looks at the use of casual labour by mining companies and BHP at the Mount Arthur mine is very much in the sights of the union in regard to that.”

The CFMEU said there is a $53,000 difference between an employee at the mine and one through Operations Services.

On the seven day week on, week off roster the yearly wage for a permanent employee is $159,200 and for Operations Services it is $106,000.

“Cheap deceptive deal about permanent work,” said Peter Jordan.

“We understand that more workers have left operations services at Mount Arthur than what is currently employed on the mine site right now.”

Peter Jordan added that the mine site “is so desperate to get workers” that they are paying for a taxi to pick up two digger operators from Maitland and Branxton to Muswellbrook.

“That’s the real low that sneaky BHP has gone to, to be able to implement operations services to simply cut the wages of coal miners here in the Hunter Valley,” said Peter Jordan.

“We got to expose BHP for what they are. This is a company that recently was announced as a profit of $13.3 billion AUS dollars,”

“And here they are cheap operations services offering workers up $106,000 far less than everything else that’s happening.”

The advertising has hit television and online and the union says there is a lot more to come in a bid to “expose BHP for what they are”, and they won’t be “dropping off on this”.

In a statement to Radio Hunter Valley a BHP Spokesperson has said that they have assembled a team of “directly employed, permanent BHP workers on market competitive rates in Operations Services to deliver services at BHP facilities.”

“These workers are permanent employees of BHP.  They are not labour hire employees as the CFMMEU has falsely claimed.”

“All full time Operator and Maintainer jobs in Operations Services receive salaries in excess of $100,000, which is well above the level determined by the relevant industry awards.”

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

Image credit: CFMEU