BHP coalminers on strike

PRODUCTION at the BHP-Mitsubishi Alliance coal mines in Queensland will not resume until Wednesday, after 3500 miners walked off the job and launched a seven-day strike over their new enterprise agreement.

PRODUCTION at the BHP-Mitsubishi Alliance coal mines in Queensland will not resume until Wednesday, after 3500 miners walked off the job and launched a seven-day strike over their new enterprise agreement.

Both BHP Billiton and the mineworkers union, the CFMEU, said they are willing to resume negotiations, although little movement is expected any time soon.

The two sides have been negotiating a new agreement for 15 months, with limited progress. BHP has offered a 5 per cent annual wage rise over three years along with a $15,000 a year production bonus, although the sticking point at this stage is a range of ancillary issues.

The mines affected are the BMA joint venture mines of Norwich Park, Saraji, Peak Downs, Blackwater, Gregory Crinum, Blackwater and Goonyella, all located in central Queensland.

"They're paying their staff 12 per cent superannuation, which they're offering to us from 2020," CFMEU national president Tony Maher said. "But our members will be retired by then."

The company also wants the right to choose who will work four straight 12-hour shifts, which typically suit those who live locally, or seven 12-hour shifts, which are more popular with fly-in-fly-out workers.