As part of their campaign for a new enterprise agreement in the Pilbara, BHP iron ore train drivers have announced a 24-hour stoppage planned for Friday 16 February.
In a protected action ballot held in February 2024, 97 per cent of eligible Mining and Energy Union (MEU) members voted yes to industrial action including stoppages and slowdowns, according to MEU.
MEU Western Australia Secretary, Greg Busson, said drivers had demonstrated strong resolve to secure improved conditions in areas including rostering and accommodation.
“These drivers are simply seeking guaranteed conditions in a range of areas that will make a big difference to them and their families.
“Pilbara iron ore mine operators have had it their own way for a long time. Rail crew have done an incredible job getting organised and getting BHP to the bargaining table.”
Mr Busson said that stopping the trains will send a strong message to BHP about workers’ unity and determination.
MEU rail crew members voted in a previous protected action ballot in October 2023, following which BHP put a new agreement out to vote to replace the BHP Billiton Iron Ore Locomotive Drivers Agreement 2014.
According to the MEU, the offer was an improvement however it did not address members’ priorities and was rejected with a no vote of almost 70 per cent in December 2023.
The MEU met with BHP again in January with a view to addressing outstanding issues.
The MEU applied for a new Protected Action Ballot Order (PABO) as the previous authorisation for protected action had expired.