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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

BHP Billiton Coal Workers in Australia Vote to Resume Strikes

Tue,Feb7, 2012

BHP Billiton Ltd.’s coking coal miners in Australia, the world’s largest exporter, voted to resume striking after rejecting the company’s latest offer on employment and accommodation.Workers voted to reject the offer on Feb. 3 and may strike for as many as seven straight days at seven of BHP’s coal operations in Queensland state, Steve Pierce, district vice president of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, said today by phone. The unions have not yet set a date for the stoppages to commence, he said.

About 3,500 workers at BHP’s mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin have held rolling strikes since June over pay and conditions, before suspending industrial action in December to resume contract talks.

Labor unions globally are stepping up demands for higher wages and improved conditions as record commodity prices swell profits at mining companies. “The company cannot, and will not, diminish its rights and obligations to manage the business, nor will we accept productivity-destroying arrangements as currently proposed by the unions,” Kelly Quirke, a Melbourne-based spokeswoman for BHP said by phone. “Strike action will not change our position, as has been the case for the past eight months.”

(sourced Bloomberg)

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