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To: Whitehaven Coal & BHP Group

Secure the Futures of BHP and Whitehaven Workers: Protect Minimum Entitlements

Members at the site have secured their entitlements.

On 18 October 2023, it was announced that BHP had sold the Blackwater and Daunia open-cut mines to Whitehaven. Both BHP and Whitehaven heralded it as a good deal – for them perhaps, but not for Staff, who were initially informed they would be no worse off by the changes.

However, the deal done by BHP and Whitehaven robs Staff of their safety net Award entitlements, eventually costing Staff tens of thousand of dollars in lost entitlements on retrenchment and redundancy.

New contracts were offered on a take it or leave it basis, with Staff threatened with job losses if they didn't forfeit their entitlements and sign over.

How can BHP and Whitehaven rob Staff of their Award entitlements with a stroke of a pen? Because of a loophole in the Fair Work Act called Annual Guarantees of Earnings clauses.

These are zombie individual agreements left over from the Howard Government WorkChoices days, which abolish the Award for workers.

Join with other workers by calling on Whitehaven and BHP to honour their commitment to ensure that no one is worse off by the sale of the mines.

Also join the call for the Federal Government to urgently remove this legacy provision from WorkChoices that has and will continue to undermine the industry.

Why is this important?

The joint decision by Whitehaven & BHP to undermine workers entitlements at retirement is a major risk to all workers in the mining industry.

Industry Awards reflects decades of agreed upon conditions of employment for workers, and are designed to provide the minimum foundations of any workplace arrangement.

Without the foundation of the Award, workers that sign over as part of this deal will lose the right to basic fairness. Specifically, they will no longer be able to challenge shift changes, changes to working hours or have the right to seek assistance from the independent umpire.

These common agreed upon conditions and significant retirement outcomes can be lost at a stroke of a pen by exploiting the loopholes in the Fair Work Act.

A worker should not have their minimum foundation entitlements stripped away from them under the threat of unemployment just so major mining companies can save a few dollars. Accrued entitlements are entitlements owed to a worker, they are not bargaining chips to be used by executives in backroom deals.

If major employers like Whitehaven and BHP utilised these provisions to undermine Award conditions, there will be significant impacts on the retirements of workers in the mining sector.


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2023-12-06 10:09:52 +1100

Petition is successful with 404 signatures

2023-11-28 08:00:58 +1100

100 signatures reached

2023-11-28 06:35:17 +1100

50 signatures reached

2023-11-28 05:28:54 +1100

25 signatures reached

2023-11-28 04:22:14 +1100

10 signatures reached