BMA decline opportunity to progress enterprise bargaining prior to Christmas

Published: 4 Dec 2017

Progress on a replacement enterprise agreement covering all BMA mines in Queensland has been delayed until 2018 after BMA declined a request by the CFMEU to provide further time for a counter proposal to be made. BMA subsequently advised the CFMEU that they would not be in a position to hold recommence bargaining until January 2018.

The CFMEU made the request for a 7-day extension so that the union could provide a counter proposal in the hopes of reaching agreement.

However, BMA gave the CFMEU an ultimatum to accept its proposal by threatening to reconsider its position. The offer made by BMA was conditional on the union parties agreeing to support a ‘yes’ vote on BMA’s proposed terms, by no later than 5pm Friday 24 November.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Division Queensland District President Stephen Smyth said, “Based on the feedback we received from our membership through our democratic processes, the CFMEU were left with no alternative but to advise BMA, in response to their ultimatum, that their proposal of 1 November 2017 was not accepted. Bargaining should not occur on the basis of ultimatums and we intended to, and still will, put forward a sensible and considered counter proposal.”

The ultimatum by BMA has resulted in a lost opportunity to reach a mutually acceptable outcome this year. However, the CFMEU will continue to press for a fair and reasonable deal to be reached as soon as possible.

Mr Smyth said “BMA responded to the CFMEU by stating its intention to reconsider its bargaining position before seeking to recommence negotiations in January 2018. It’s unclear what BMA’s position will be at this stage. However, we are hopeful that BMA will not act in bad faith by withdrawing from the progress that has been made in bargaining so far.”

“The CFMEU has responded to BMA reiterating our commitment to provide them with a counter proposal. However, given BMA’s response, the CFMEU will now provide its counter proposal prior to the next bargaining meeting in the new year. The CFMEU has also reiterated to BMA our view is that there is value in continuing negotiations on that basis.”

A further bargaining meeting has been scheduled for 10.00am Tuesday 23 January 2018 in Moranbah.

The enterprise agreement applies to workers at all BMA mines in Blackwater, Saraji, Goonyella Riverside and Peak Downs.

Contact for comment: Stephen Smyth 0417 897845