Hey BHP, don’t be the Scrooge who stole Christmas

Published: 4 Nov 2020

The Miners’ Union is urging BHP not to again force its Operations Services workforce to work this Christmas and Boxing Day, but rather to apply the long-standing practice of calling for volunteers and providing extra remuneration.

BHP has been deploying a large workforce across its Bowen Basin coal mines via its in-house labour hire company Operations Services. While BHP promotes these jobs as being permanent BHP jobs, they are employed on much lower pay and work conditions.
Last year, Operations Services workers rostered on to work on Christmas and Boxing Day were expected to work those days, with no choice or additional remuneration. CFMEU Mining and Energy believes this is unreasonable and contrary to the Fair Work Act and is taking legal action over last year’s events.
This week, the Union wrote to BHP CEO Mike Henry to question plans for this year and urge the mining giant to respect standard practice a that recognises the special nature of Christmas and Boxing Day.
“Making work on Christmas and Boxing Day voluntary with additional remuneration is a good compromise in line with workplace laws, allowing operations to continue while giving workers choice and respect for their family situation,” said CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland President Stephen Smyth.
“BHP pretends its Operations Services workers are part of the BHP family – but treats them like the poor cousins. They deserve better.
“Last year, many OS workers were given no choice but to be away from their families on Christmas Day. This year, we are calling on BHP to stop being the scrooge who stole Christmas and allow these workers choice over how they spend this important time, the same choice that is provided to the permanent workforce.
“For many people, especially with young families, it’s the most important day of the year. There are many others who would be happy to work these days for additional pay. This is about nothing but BHP’s profits. The coal will still be there on 27th December, but Santa will be long gone.”