BMA to bring in ‘cheaper workers’

THE CFMEU claims hundreds of central Queensland miners will be locked out of work at the soon-to-be-reopened Norwich Park Mine site.

The union yesterday said BHP Mitsubishi Alliance was looking to source 340 cheaper workers from interstate for the mine, a move that would also drive down wages at other operations.

The company yesterday issued a statement in response to the union claims.

"In April 2012, BMA announced the cessation of production at Norwich Park Mine and recommencement of production would be subject to circumstances including an assessment of short and long-term options," the statement read.

The miners' union claims to have obtained an internal briefing paper, prepared by a mining industry contractor, outlining the terms under which the company is seeking to operate its Norwich Park Mine, near Dysart.

"BMA has strongly indicated that success of the project will be dependent on being able to operate the mine efficiently while using labour that is paid significantly less than is currently the case at surrounding existing operations," the CFMEU alleged the briefing paper said.

"A strong desire has been expressed that labour should be sourced from lower-paying areas outside of Queensland (Adelaide, Melbourne for example). They are likely to try and leverage off the labour model used at Norwich Park to generate lower cost labour models at their other operations."

CFMEU mining and energy general secretary Andrew Vickers said it was clear BHP had closed its Norwich Park operation as part of an industrial strategy to slash wages and deny jobs to local workers.

"It's no coincidence that BHP is now planning to reopen the mine exactly three years after closing it, to avoid legal requirements to hire back the local workers it ruthlessly dumped," he said.