Nov 16, 2020

Fears over Daunia jobs as automation rolls out

Fears over Daunia jobs as automation rolls out

Mining union the CFMEU is at loggerheads with BHP again, this time accusing the company of ‘job cuts in disguise’ over automation in the coalfields.

The union says BHP has told labour hire workers at Daunia they will no longer be required after autonomous vehicles are introduced early next year, although there were no details on how many workers were involved.

But BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) maintains that while some jobs are changing, no one will lose their job as a result of the decision to implement autonomous haulage at the site.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth called on the company to ‘come clean’ about how many jobs it was cutting at Daunia.

“Having replaced many permanent jobs with casual labour hire over the years, it is disgraceful for BHP to now just treat these workers as disposable,” he said.

“Labour hire workers have families and responsibilities the same as any other mineworker. 

“It is important that BHP is honest about all job losses due to automation. Communities have a right to expect good, well-paying jobs from the mines they host and should share in the benefits of automation – not just watch more profits going to shareholders while jobs are cut.” 

A BMA spokesman said the company would work with labour hire providers to ensure that any affected labour hire workers were given the opportunity to continue to work at a BMA mine. 

“Autonomous haulage is creating 150 project related jobs in Queensland and 56 new roles on site,” he said. 

BMA in July announced a $100 million plan to introduce a 34-strong fleet of autonomous trucks at the Daunia coal mine in Central Queensland.

The shift to Caterpillar driverless trucks is set to begin in February, with the roll-out expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

The latest spat comes after a prolonged battle between unions and BHP over the mining company’s Operations Services workforce model.