Illawarra Coal workers are appealing to BHP to “do the right thing” as the company plans to cut 85 local jobs on Friday.
Thursday, 3 July 2014
Collieries’ Staff and Officials Association director Catherine Bolger said that staff and their families had been in a state of shock and dismay since BHP’s “heavy-handed” announcement last Tuesday, of its intention to force 85 redundancies by the end of this week.
“Many of these staff have worked at these mines for over 25 years. Yet in the blink of an eye, BHP has ignored all those years of hard work and loyalty from honest local workers who delivered the company years of record profits.
“There was a time not long ago that BHP actually referred to its workers as “family”. Yet, now these workers feel completely abandoned by a company who is trying to chuck them the minute the coal price wavers.
“It is hard to understand how BHP, with its vast profits and global operations, was only able to provide workers with nine working days’ notice of such a big number of forced redundancies. It smacks of panic and bad management, rather than the financial constraints the company has cited.
“BHP has made a bad situation much worse. These workers have had the rug pulled out from under them. They are extremely disappointed at how poorly this has been handled and one wife of a worker told me she was physically sick when she received the news.
“Everyone understands that when the coal price drops, savings need to be made. But these workers are asking for BHP to engage in genuine consultation. We call on the company to look at all the options before they chuck 85 local workers onto the unemployment line.
“BHP could call for voluntary redundancies or scale back shifts. These workers want to talk to the company about how savings can be made without losing jobs.
“These workers’ necks are on the line and in every sense it is five minutes to midnight for them. However, remarkably they are still coming up with alternatives and solutions.
“BHP might have abandoned these workers, but these workers have not abandoned BHP.
“These workers are mine supervisors, they understand how the mines work and how to operate them effectively and safely. They know there are better ways for the company to save money, more effective ways to manage and maintain the mine, than sacking 85 people.
“While BHP seems to only be thinking of its bottom line, these guys are very worried about the broader impacts any redundancies will have on Wollongong. They know the local economy can’t afford to lose 85 jobs today and they know that businesses, shops and schools will feel the knock-on effect.