Appin Mine staff have reached their first ever Enterprise Agreement with BHP, after three years of protracted negotiations that involved guidance and rulings from both Fair Work Australia and the Federal Court, and which in effect defined the obligations employers have in bargaining with employees.

Ms Catherine Bolger, director of the Collieries Staff Division for the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia said, “Overwhelmingly, this case has shown that the current Fair Work laws work.”

“Workers in Australia have a right to have their employer respect their choice to bargain collectively, and be represented by their union.

“This is a landmark case. It serves as a signal to employees across Australia that if a majority of employees want an enterprise agreement, they can achieve it.

“Appin Staff have worked really hard to achieve this Agreement, however their hard work will make it much easier for other employees, which is a great achievement.

“Their hard work has secured them a standard set of transparent employment terms and conditions, and perhaps most importantly – ensured that no-one is left behind on individual contracts with lesser conditions.

“The great success of this as a test case is that a small group of employees has been able to succeed in establishing a first-ever Agreement with a large, initially unwilling, employer in BHP.

“Even with a company the size of BHP, the democratic and determined choice of these workers, supported by their union, achieved an agreement.

“This certainly paves the way for other groups of employees to work for all the benefits that come with enterprise agreements.”

“This case has tested the Fair Work Act and its regulatory bodies and shown them to work, for both employees and employers.

“Back in 2010, Appin Staff worked on individual contracts that saw new people sign on to lesser conditions – without knowing it until much later. There was a lot of mystery around who was on what with individual contracts and new staff were getting left behind on conditions.

“Interestingly, in the last week we have seen an attack on redundancy conditions in the coal industry – the exact conditions that Appin Staff have actually managed to lock-in for the next three years.”

Media enquiries/to interview Catherine Bolger, contact Fiona Simpson 0408 567 581 at APESMA.

For more information, check out the fact sheet below.

Fact Sheet Appin Mine

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