Three women from the Central Queensland town of Blackwater have taken the concerns of their community directly to BHP company headquarters in Brisbane.
Recently one thousand Blackwater residents – out of a total population of only five thousand – attended a community forum to condemn the actions of the company, which is contracting hundreds of permanent local jobs at its Blackwater mine.
Local women Kath Miller, Salle Collins and Vicky Hamilton last week each presented a letter inviting BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie to visit the community in Blackwater and see for himself the damage that will be done because of BHP’s decision.
Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan also accompanied the women on a meeting to Minister for Communities Shannon Fentiman to discuss their situation at Blackwater and the actions of the mining company.
CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland District President Steve Smyth said local people were concerned that the decision by the mining multinational would all but destroy the Blackwater community.
“This is a direct attack on permanent, secure local jobs and its ordinary local people who are going to pay the price of BHP’s cost cutting,” said Mr Smyth.
“The implications of this decision extend way beyond the 300 local workers who will directly lose their current jobs.
“Local businesses will suffer. Whole families will be forced to move away. There will be less kids at local schools and sports teams will be left with fewer players.
“But this decision has impacts far beyond the local area. This is a direct attack on the idea of a permanent, secure, full time job.
“Job security is a fundamental part of our Australian way of life and it is essential so that workers and families can plan for their future.
“But BHP is pitting worker against worker in a race to the bottom on wages and conditions while it continues to make massive profits from our natural resources.
“The Blackwater community is not going to sit by and let BHP get away with ripping off its workers.”