Outsourced workers will be offered permanent positions at two fossil fuel operations in Queensland’s Central Highlands and Isaac regions.
BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) recently signed asset sale agreements to exit its Blackwater (226km west of Rockhampton) and Daunia (170km southwest of Mackay) coal mines.
The US$4.1 billion (A$6.4B) deal with successful bidder Whitehaven Coal is promised to disband BHP’s existing in-house labour hire company. Hundreds of affected team members are expected to be transitioned to direct employment.
“Whitehaven has assured the Mining and Energy Union (MEU) that workers at the mines will remain covered by existing Enterprise Agreements (EAs) and that all workers employed through BHP’s labour hire subsidiary Operations Services will be offered permanency on site EA conditions,” MEU said in a public statement.
Both locations boast a combined 2500 permanent, contract and labour hire workers.
“Nearly 400 OS workers and their families will be celebrating this news and can look forward to a substantial improvement to their pay and conditions. Meanwhile, the permanently employed workforce can rest assured that their existing pay and conditions will be retained,” acting Queensland district president Mitch Hughes said.
The remarks came after Whitehaven agreed to fund the acquisition through available cash, a US$900 million (A$1.4B) bridge facility with Bank of America and Jefferies as well as combined entity cashflows throughout the 2025, 2026 and 2027 financial years. Net proceeds will be used to pay down BHP’s net debt.
For now production will continue and an ownership transition process will begin at both mines.
“We will work closely with them [Whitehaven] to achieve a smooth change of ownership, focused on maintaining safe and productive operations and supporting people and communities through the transition,” BHP minerals Australia president Geraldine Slattery said.
“We look forward to completing the transaction and welcoming the teams at Daunia and Blackwater into the Whitehaven business, and working with the local community and other stakeholders who will remain an important part of our operations,” Whitehaven CEO and managing director Paul Flynn added.
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