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News headings from LabourStart

BHP Contract Switch stopped them smiling

« Back to News Articles BHP Contract Switch stopped them smiling

Pay cuts were a big kick in the guts for Newman bus drivers.

Bus drivers on BHP’s Whaleback mine in Newman woke up one day to doing exactly the same job but for less money.

It’s a complicated story and it stinks.

The drivers are employed by labour hire company Programmed Integrated Workforce.

They all enjoyed their job driving the BHP workers, in BHP owned buses, to and from the Whaleback mine.

Their passengers included the local employees and the Fly In Fly Out people.

Full-time drivers were on a flat $38.24 per hour – no overtime loadings or shift penalties, etc. Casuals were on $43.98.

Not bad money but we are talking about the remote North West and the cost of living is much more expensive up there than it is in Perth.

In its endless drive for fatter profits BHP decided to get rid of their buses and get a private company to supply them.

Pilbara Car & Truck Rentals won the contract to supply the buses and arrange the transportation of the BHP workers.

So the contract to supply the drivers was put out to tender.

Programmed Integrated Workforce won the contract.

This meant the PMI drivers kept their jobs – but there was a big downside – they would only be casuals and they would be PAID LESS.

The causal hourly rate was cut from $45 to $37. Fulltimers could take basic redundancy or stick around and go on the casual rate.

This was devestating for the drivers, and worse still, they were only given a few days to accept the crappy deal or piss off.

The TWU stepped in at this late stage and tried desperatly to salvage the situation.

We took the matter to Fair Work Australia and argued in court that because Programmed Integrated Workforce remained their employer drivers pay rates should stay the same.

Unfortunately the court ruled that because PMI’s client had changed from BHP to Pilbara Car & Truck Rentals different pay and conditions could apply.

The decision knocked the stuffing out of the drivers.

I was in town recently and morale was pretty low.

We haven’t given up and will try again to get a better deal for the drivers who are a great bunch of people.