Dec 10, 2020

Union survey highlights Operations Services gripes

Union survey highlights Operations Services gripes

A mineworkers’ union says a survey has shown only 4 per cent of those employed by BHP’s Operations Services are satisfied that their wages and conditions stack up with Queensland coal industry standards.

It comes as the mining giant tries to lock in their substandard conditions with fresh Enterprise Agreements, CFMEU Mining and Energy says.

Queensland President Stephen Smyth said the survey results should send a clear message to BHP that it was time to negotiate a better deal with their Operations Services (OS) Queensland coal workforce. 

Mr Smyth said the union was pushing to get BHP to the bargaining table to improve conditions for OS workers, who were demoralised by their treatment.

Of 492 Queensland-based OS workers who completed a CFMEU survey, 92 per cent said their wages and conditions were not competitive and needed improvement, another 4 per cent were unsure and 4 per cent indicated they were satisfied, the union said.

One in three respondents (32 per cent) reported that they were not confident about raising safety issues without fear of being targeted.

“BHP is trying every trick in the book to avoid giving OS workers the dignity of having a genuine say in their working conditions through bargaining, like other BHP workers,” Mr Smyth said.

“OS workers are given nice BHP shirts and told they are part of the family, but they are being treated like the poor cousins.

“Operations Services workers tell us over and again they are unhappy with their treatment: they can’t raise issues, their travel arrangements are difficult and expensive, their training is substandard and their pay is far below industry standards.”

BHP maintains its Operations Services positions are an attractive offering with competitive rates.

“To date, we have received nearly 84,000 applications for Operations Services roles since we began in April 2018 – a clear endorsement of how attractive the offering is in Queensland and across the country,” a company spokesman said.

“We are engaging directly with our employees and have shared our proposed simple safety net enterprise agreements, both of which address the feedback raised by the Fair Work Commission about the previous enterprise agreements.

“Operations Services delivers strong safety and performance across BHP’s Australian operations and provides stability for our people.”

Operations Services employs more than 3500 people and continues to recruit for up to 100 new permanent roles per week.