Aussie unions up in arms over BHP’s 100% FIFO policy

BHP’s decision to use a 100% fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workforce at its Australian Bowen Basin coal mines, instead of hiring from the local community, is generating fierce opposition in Central Queensland.

According to the CFMEU, Australia’s main trade union including construction, forestry and mining workers, it was hoped that BHP would source the 1,000 employees needed for the mines from the surrounding areas. Instead, workers will be flown in from Cairns and Brisbane.

CFMEU Mining & Energy National Secretary, Andrew Vickers, said in a statement that Bowen Basin miners were right to feel furious with BHP for shutting them out of the recruitment process, especially after the company closed two nearby coalmines last year.

BHP’s move comes after a parliamentary report was released in February this year outlining the damaging impacts transient workforce can have on regional communities.

"By relying so heavily on FIFO, BHP is locking out local workers from the benefits and delivering more of the negative aspects of the mining boom to Central Queensland communities,” Vickers said.

The union urged BHP to rethink this decision called on the State Government to withhold approval of any new mine applications using only FIFO, unless a company can prove there is no viable alternative.