World’s Largest Mining Company Thumbs Nose at Oz Workers

In a petty and short-sighted move, BHP-Billiton has shown its contempt for Australian workers by trying to undermine a Fair Work sanctioned collective agreement.

Notorious tax-avoider BHP, who have culpability questions regarding a dam disaster in Brazil which killed up to 10 people, have engaged tugboat company Rivtow for Port Hedland operations, dumping current contractor Teekay. 

Teekay had just concluded collective bargaining with workers from three unions – Maritime Union of Australia, Australian Maritime Officers Union and Australian Institute of Marine Power Engineers.

Affiliated unions were in Melbourne for Australian Council of Trade Unions executive, which was held yesterday.

A resolution condemning BHP’s actions was passed at the meeting.

MUA Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey said BHP’s decision was driven by ideology and not by sensible business considerations. 

“BHP Billiton has built its fortunes on the back of hard working Aussies and it’s a bloody disgrace that they are dismissing a fairly negotiated enterprise agreement,” Mr Tracey said.

“The company is a multi-billion dollar enterprise and it’s appalling that this same company now plans to justify throwing another 230 workers on the scrap heap.” 

MUA Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray said there was no reason or acceptable rationale to obliterate legally negotiated employee terms and conditions by the most profitable company in Australia’s mining history.

“A political motivation must be acknowledged,” Mr Bray said.

“I strongly suggest BHP reconsider its actions and show a bit of loyalty to the Australian people that have ensured the company has been such a successful venture for more than 100 years.”