BHP iron-ore train drivers vote for 24h strike from Friday

12th February 2024 By: Bloomberg

BHP iron-ore train drivers vote for 24h strike from Friday

Train drivers at BHP Group's Pilbara iron-ore operations in Western Australia have voted to strike on Friday for 24 hours, potentially cutting supply to the producer’s Australian export hubs.

Workers plan to carry out a 24-hour stoppage Friday under a campaign aimed at securing better working conditions and pay in an enterprise agreement, according to the Mining and Energy Union. The previous agreement, which covers about 500 drivers, was negotiated in 2014.

“Pilbara iron ore mine operators have had it their own way for a long time,” the union’s Secretary Greg Busson said in a statement. The workers had “been very patient and given BHP every opportunity to address their concerns,” he added.

BHP didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Its shares were down 0.8% to A$45.94 at 2:03 p.m. in Sydney.

In Australia, industrial action is a legal right under the Fair Work Act 2009. It can be triggered when bargaining for a new enterprise agreement fails or an existing agreement is out-of-date, according to the Fair Work Commission.

A typical train iron ore train comprises of four locomotives pulling around 270 cars carrying 38 000 t of iron-ore, according to the company’s website.