A three-year workplace negotiations dispute between BHP and the union Professionals Australia has finally ended after the Fair Work Commission ruled in favour of workers to establish a new deal.
The new enterprise agreement, the first to cover mine supervisors, locks in key conditions such as redundancy provisions for workers at BHP’s Mount Arthur coal mine at Muswellbrook.
Workers had been repeatedly shut down by BHP while attempting to secure protections for the conditions over the past three years.
The mine was also recently put up for sale by the company, raising concern about possible job losses.
The union’s Collieries’ Staff Division Director Catherine Bolger says the decision meant “certainty and security” for around 75 families.
“The agreement has been a long time in the making,” Ms Bolger said. “Initially BHP were reluctant to have an agreement for their supervisors.”
“It’s also a landmark for other supervisors in the Hunter Valley who now concede that their colleagues at Mount Arthur have won an agreement and it provides them the benchmark that they can also pursue.”
The Fair Work Commission found that BHP’s conduct was unfair and that they had used delay tactics in breach of the Fair Work Act.
Ms Bolger says the union is looking forward to working with the company to implement the new agreement.