JOBS GALORE: BHP to hire 350 new workers

THE development of a new production and maintenance organisation within the BHP group means the creation of 350 jobs.

The new Operations Services organisation will provide specific production and maintenance services focusing on infrastructure and asset management functions in the Bowen Basin at the Caval Ridge and Daunia Coal mines.

A BHP spokesman said Operations Services would accelerate production and productivity within the company.

A team of directly employed permanent workers will be assembled in Operations Services to deliver services currently outsourced to contractors or performed by labour hire providers.

"Operations Services offers permanent jobs for workers - many of whom are currently labour hire employees and will provide security and flexibility to them, labour stability and productivity benefits for BHP," the spokesman said.

Operations Services will accelerate productivity improvements and allow BHP Mitsubishi Alliance to address limitations in labour availability and reduce its use of labour hire workers.

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Minister for Resources Matt Canavan welcomed the move from BHP.

"The mining sector has to provide secure, local and high-paying jobs if it wants to survive," he said.

He said job security was of specific concern to employees.

"It would help alleviate the ups and downs," Senator Canavan said.

There was a movement in the industry to better support communities by offering permanent jobs and treating small businesses "better", he said.

Mackay Chamber of Commerce treasurer Simon Vigliante said he had some reservations concerning the timing of the announcement from BHP.

"The offer of permanent positions is great for those that need it and is in line with a common perception that the balance has tipped too far towards casualisation," he said.

"I question the motive when an impending inquiry into the industry is being driven by the CFMEU and some politicians.

"There is also a sacrifice that comes with permanent roles - generally a lower take-home pay - which offsets the riskier nature of casual engagements. As such, sometimes the amount of people willing to take up the positions dwindle."

However a spokesperson for BHP said the decision was about building long term capability and performance in the business.

"Other parts of the business stood up this model a few months ago and for the past year we have been working on building the supporting systems, capability and processes that have made this a possible option for our sites," the spokesperson said.

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