Business

BMA strike to cost Qld govt $10m

A LAST-minute meeting in Brisbane was not enough to dissuade mine workers from beginning a seven-day strike from Thursday.

The stoppage is expected to cost the Queensland Government $10 million in lost royalties.

An industry source estimated the cost to BHP, since industrial action began 18 months ago, to be fast approaching the $2 billion mark.

Stephen Smyth, president of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union's Queensland mining division, met with BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance in Brisbane on Wednesday.

Both sides so far appear unwilling to budge.

After the meeting, Mr Smyth said BMA told the union it was to put together a deal for the company to consider delivering to all its Central Queensland workers.

He said the union would put something together, but for now all six BMA mines will be shut from 6am for a week until next Thursday.

Prior to the sit-down, Mr Smyth was hopeful but prepared for a grim reception.

"We're hoping it's a fruitful discussion and some concessions will be made but we'll have to see," he said.

A BMA spokeswoman said there was nothing to be gained by the union going on strike.

"As the record has shown, it will not help resolution of an agreement," she said.

"We are focused on finalising an agreement and will resume discussions to complete the agreement as soon as possible."

She said BMA would listen to the workers and hoped to restart discussions as soon as it could.

However, she added "BMA will not compromise on matters that limit its ability to compete and grow its business."

Workers from the CFMEU, Electrical Trades Union and Australia Manufacturers Workers Union all will stop working on BMA mines.

Topics:  bhp billiton, bma, strike



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