The world’s largest mining company BHP Billiton is in trouble in Queensland, Australia. Mine workers are asking for changes in the work conditions as they begin a seven day strike. However both BHP Billiton and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union – CFMEU are willing to resume negotiations.
The CFMEU said that the strike was going to affect seven mines located in the Bowen Basin, as per Stephen Smyth the district president. These mines have a normal weekly production of nearly one million tonnes of coking coal. This is Australia’s largest industrial action since the 1990s maritime wharf dispute.
A BHP spokeswoman said that they were disappointed with any decision to stop work, but they remained committed to resuming negotiations in good faith. They just really wanted to get back to the negotiating table. She added that they reserved the right to manage their business safely and in a commercially successful way, and they were urging employees and representatives to return to constructive discussions.
CFMEU National President Tony Maher said that BHP Billiton was enjoying record profits at the expense of its workers. He said last year BHP made a record profit of $23 billion. These workers were taking a stand for safe, secure jobs. He added that BHP could afford to do the right thing. CFMEU represents more than 3,000 workers at the seven coal mines owned jointly by BHP and Mitsubishi Corp.