Mine workers walk off the job

MINERS at four BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) mines were on strike for a full shift yesterday.

Norwich Park, Saraji, Gregory and Crinum workers were off the job for between 12 and 12 1/2 hours.

Mackay Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) district vice president Steve Pierce said he believed the BMA agreement would force miners onto a new seven-on, seven-off roster that had longer shifts.

"If people want to work the new seven-on, seven-off roster that's fine, but people should not be forced onto that roster," Mr Pierce said.

"We also want there to be proper fatigue management systems in place for the new roster."

BHP Billiton's media relations officer Samantha Stevens said following the September 10 meeting with the Single Bargaining Unit BMA would progress to an employee ballot on the agreement at the end of the month.

"After 32 full days of meetings with the SBU (single bargaining unit) we think it is time for employers to have their say," Ms Stevens said.

"Under the agreements there will be no changes to the number of shifts and none of our employers will have to work on Christmas Day or Boxing Day unless it is an emergency.

"Nobody will be forced onto the new roster," Ms Stevens said.

Mr Pierce said it was misleading for BHP to have said this.

"In the BHP draft agreement, if voted on, the seven-on, seven-off roster will be a standard roster and workers can be given 28 days notice to start the roster."

Mr Pierce said recent television and print advertising campaigns had been working well.

"BHP has been complaining bitterly about them so we think they are working well."

"We think media campaigns are necessary to alert the wider public about what BHP is proposing," Mr Pierce said.

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