Australian mining unions are worried that miners’ interests will be ignored during the rush for profits in the recent mining boom. The president of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Stephen Smyth said that: “BHP is making enormous profits out of its coking coal operations in central Queensland, but it doesn’t want to listen to its workforce … We need to make sure this mining boom doesn’t come at the expense of workers’ safety and the interests of our mining communities.”
Rolling strikes have been held at BHP’s Australian mines since June 2011 as unions attempt to negotiate improved pay and working conditions. This latest strike will begin on 15 February. Analysts have estimated that a full week of 12 hour work stoppages will reduce overall production by 1 million t.
A statement released by BHP, said: “We are extremely disappointed as we have consistently demonstrated our commitment to negotiating constructively with the unions … strike action will not change our position, as has been the case for the past eight months.”
A recent report by the company has shown a fall in earnings that has been cited as being due to a combination of weaker than expected commodity prices and industrial action. Despite this, the company’s half-year profits still reached US$ 9.94 billion.
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