Is BHP the grinch who stole Christmas?

Published: 7 Nov 2019

BHP shareholders were today told that the use of an internal labour hire subsidiary to cut the wages and conditions of workers at BHP coal mines was affecting production and damaging the company’s standing in mining communities.

A delegation of worker and community representatives attended BHP’s AGM in Sydney today and questioned executives about issues including the roll-out of new labour hire subsidiary Operations Services Operations Services.

As well working on much lower pay and worse conditions than direct BHP employees, resulting in high turnover, the latest insult for Operations Services workers is being told they must work Christmas Day.

Their questions covered the poor treatment of OS workers and the very high turnover and staff shortages on OS crews at coal mines in NSW and Queensland, affecting production.

Peak Downs mineworker and CFMEU delegate Scott Leggett, who travelled to Sydney for the AGM, said the OS workers beside him deserved the same pay and conditions as workers on BHP’s site agreement. Unlike permanents, OS workers have been told they must work Christmas Day with some distressed at having rosters meaning they will work six of the next seven Christmases.



In the AGM, Scott Leggett challenged BHP executives and board members about whether they would be working six of the next seven Christmas Days, before asking: “Is BHP the grinch who stole Christmas?”

“I wanted to bring it to the attention of shareholders, the board and the wider community what BHP is doing to these people, it’s nothing short of scandalous,” he said.

The Union has been told of very high turnover and short-staffing at all mines where OS has been deployed, with people leaving due to a range of issues including payment for flights being cut.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Northern District Vice President Jeff Drayton, who represents workers at BHP’s Mount Arthur mine in the Hunter Valley, said shareholders deserved to know that the loss of permanent jobs held by experienced workers was hurting people and production.

“Workers are voting with their feet. There is very high turnover. Mining is hard work and if people aren’t getting the pay and conditions they won’t stick around.

“BHP needs the support of the communities it operates in. Alienating workers by cutting wages and cancelling Christmas is simply bad for business.

“Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the response to our concerns was dismissive. We will continue to fight for the interests of mineworkers and mining communities affected by BHP’s poor corporate behaviour.”