The Guardian • Issue #2056

BHP wage theft

Union win delivers $430 million public holiday back pay

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2056
BHP Tower Perth

BHP Tower Perth. Photo: Uttamstef12 – Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).

BHP has admitted underpaying mineworkers US$280 million (A$430 million) since 2010 due to wrongly deducting leave on public holidays.

The Mining and Energy Union said that underpayment had been uncovered as a result of a major union win in the Federal Court clarifying employee rights around public holidays under the National Employment Standards.

The March Full Court decision in a matter brought by the Mining and Energy Union against BHP’s labour hire subsidiary Operations Services found that companies could not automatically treat public holidays as work days without first asking employees to work the days, and employees having the opportunity to refuse that request.

Mining and Energy Union General Secretary Grahame Kelly said BHP had been sprung ripping workers off, and the union would ensure affected members received their full entitlements.

“BHP has been sprung ripping workers off by hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Mr Kelly.

“Today’s revelation goes to show that we need to keep up the pressure on big companies like BHP to do the right thing.

“BHP has assumed that because they want round-the-clock profits from their mining operations, their workers aren’t entitled to their public holiday rights.

“It’s yet another example of dodgy maths and dodgy employment practices from BHP. We will make sure all our affected members receive every cent they are owed due to this stuff-up.”


The Guardian can also be viewed/downloaded in PDF format. View More