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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Coal miners ‘chucked in the gutter’ as BHP delivers ultimatum ahead of sale

Up to 80 employees at New South Wales’ largest coal mine have been ordered by BHP to just accept transfers to interstate mines or resign from their positions.

A employee who’s going through the ultimatum mentioned he felt “left in the street” by the firm.

BHP continues to seek for a purchaser for its Mt Arthur thermal coal mine close to Muswellbrook, after slashing its worth from $2 billion to detrimental $200 million in latest years.

The mine has a complete workforce of greater than 2,000 folks, however BHP makes use of its wholly-owned labour-hire subsidiary Operations Services (OS) to make use of 80 employees.

As half of the sale course of, OS at Mt Arthur shall be wound up from November 1.

While some of the impacted miners have been at Mt Arthur as everlasting workers of OS for greater than two years, they’re contractually employed inside an “east coast hub” — not Mt Arthur.

Therefore, BHP can require the workers to work at a number of websites, and not using a redundancy entitlement.

Employees have been instructed they’ll relocate to mines in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, with monetary help from BHP.

BHP Billiton mine at Olympic Dam
Olympic Dam in South Australia is amongst the switch choices for workers.(

Supplied: BHP Billiton


‘Left in the road’

An impacted employee, who requested to stay nameless as a result of he was not authorised to talk to the media, has settled in the Hunter Valley together with his spouse and youngsters.

“The ones that can’t take the position will be left in the street, and that to me is not supporting the people that have worked for them for the past two to three years,” the employee instructed the ABC.

The employee mentioned assurances from firms and politicians that coal jobs have been secure have been “absolutely ridiculous”.

His requests to switch from OS to BHP have been refused, he mentioned.

“I totally get that OS is winding up in November, it’s part of mining — I get that,” he mentioned.

“What I don’t get is the way they’ve come about it.”

A separate labour-hire agency, Chandler McLeod, is at present hiring employees for Mt Arthur however it’s unclear what number of positions can be found. 

‘Appalling’ therapy

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has taken BHP to the Fair Work Commission over the matter, however given the workers usually are not lined by an enterprise settlement there is no such thing as a proper to arbitration.

CFMEU district vice-president Jeff Drayton mentioned BHP’s therapy of the employees was “appalling”.

A man in a blue suit
Union boss Jeff Drayton says he knew the OS mannequin of labour rent wouldn’t work.(

ABC Upper Hunter: Jake Lapham


“It’s incomprehensible that at a coal mine the size of Mt Arthur, BHP can’t simply move them on to the site enterprise agreement and continue their employment,” he mentioned.

BHP declined the ABC’s requests for an interview, however a spokesperson mentioned “Operations Services will conclude the provision of production services at Mt Arthur Coal later this year and team members will move to other sites”.

#Note-Author Name – Jake Lapham

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