Tuesday, 25 February 2020
Before moving general business notice of motion No. 474, I wish to inform the Senate that Senator Green will also sponsor the motion. At the request of Senators Sheldon, Watt, Chisholm and Green, I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) pay and conditions in supply chains are often characterised by a race to the bottom in which companies at the top drive down rates through their economic power,
(ii) in the resource industry, mining companies such as BHP, BHP Mitsubishi Alliance and BHP Mitsui Coal through their tenders for auxiliary work are the ultimate employer in the sector influencing the setting of pay and conditions across the sector,
(iii) workers at Greyhound Resources have in, good faith, engaged in negotiations with their employers for a new enterprise agreement,
(iv) workers at Greyhound Resources exercised their democratic right to take protected industrial action as part of the bargaining process,
(v) Greyhound Resources responded threatening to lock out any and all workers who took part in a legal industrial action, and
(vi) Greyhound Resources carried out this threat and is currently locking out those workers who took part in protected industrial action;
(b) calls on Australian mining companies to recognise their role as the ultimate employer in the sector and their influence on the rates and conditions across their industry; and
(c) supports the workers of Greyhound Resources who are currently locked out by their employer and calls for the end to the lockout so that negotiations can continue in good faith.
The Fair Work Act provides rights for employees to take protected industrial action in support of claims and corresponding rights for employers to take protected response action to respond to employee industrial action. It is not appropriate for the Senate to support protected industrial action by one of the parties and oppose it for the other party purely on partisan and selective grounds. The Senate has no knowledge of the issues in dispute and is unable to assess the respective bargaining stances. It should not embark on a partisan and unbalanced intervention seeking to support costly industrial action and deny other parties their legislative rights to advance their interests.
One Nation supports this motion because everyday Australian workers have had a gutful of the 'Big Australian'. Not satisfied with ripping off Hunter Valley casual coalminers through sham agreements that breach the coal award, BHP through another contractor is now boosting its profits by squeezing the wages of Queensland transport workers. The common factor in these cases seems to be BHP and its affiliates. The 'Big and Not So Good Australian' has ripped off casual labour hire workers and leaves injured workers without due care or proper compensation—shameful! In regional Queensland, wages growth has stalled, and BHP is using its procurement muscle to force down wages and conditions. I hope that shareholders will see right through this abuse of workers and dump BHP. It will not be long before the depth and high cost of this scandal will be fully realised by BHP, Chandler MacLeod and others. Tick, tick, tick, BHP: the clock is turning. All hardworking Australians deserve fair wages and conditions that support both their family and the success of their business.