“The wages and terms of the service operations agreements were far below the wages and conditions that exist for permanent coal miners at BHP`s sites, which have been negotiated for decades,” said tony Maher, president of the union. “Operations services agreements simply do not reflect employment standards in coal mines, such as accident compensation and annual wage increases. In a final ruling late Thursday, Commission Vice President Adam Hatcher and Vice President Anna Booth also said BHP had not obtained proper approval of the two company agreements that underpin corporate services. “We are not satisfied for the purpose of. the Fair Work Act under which the production contract or maintenance contract has actually been approved by the workers covered by the agreements,” the ruling states. Another option facing BHP is to optimise the aspects of company agreements with which the Commission has encountered problems and then place them in front of staff for a new vote that would satisfy the Commission`s wish to “reach a real agreement”. “We are delighted to see these agreements in the trash where they belong.” The main benefits of the agreement for employees are the increase in superannuation from 11.5% to 13% and the 25% increase in annual post allowances. BHP will continue to try to recruit a hundred new employees a week for its controversial Operations Services division, although the Fair Work Commission on Friday cancelled the company agreements that underpin the new division. A company agreement for Operations Services` “maintenance workers” was approved in October 2018 by nine of the 16 employees, while 37 of the 58 employees covered by Operations Services` “production agreement” in September 2018 voted for approval.
“We are delighted that Fair Work accepted our arguments and found that these agreements were not legally valid.” CfMEU says the two agreements were coordinated by a small number of iron ore workers in Western Australia before being applied to a growing workforce of coal mine operations departments in NSW and Queensland. However, the ruling means that the individual contracts of Operations Services employees are now aligned with the company agreements in force in their workplace. This makes it more difficult for BHP to relocate its employees to new locations. BHP Billiton`s Olympic Dam Operations in South Australia has approved its first Fair Work Australia company agreement, in accordance with the Fair Work Act. The company agreement cancelled on Friday would have become the standard baseline on the basis of which the various Operations Services contracts would have been defined. This was an interim decision that gave BHP seven days to decide whether there were further oral submissions to the Fair Work Commission on company agreements. Despite other observations from BHP over the past four months, the miner did not dispel the commissioners` concerns that Operations Services employees were not “better off” compared to existing mining industry company agreements. . . .