It comes as the Minerals Council of Australia asserts that the Closing Loopholes Bill will significantly impact the Pilbara mining industry, potentially threatening future operations.
WMWA co-Secretary Greg Busson described the argument as ‘ludicrous’.
“Mining companies make eye-watering profits from Western Australian iron ore, but they’re so desperate not to share that they have resorted to bald-faced lies to fight improvements to workers’ rights,” Busson said.
Busson explained that the Closing Loopholes Bill aims to address labour hire loopholes at sites with a valid enterprise agreement, where a labour hire workforce is hired for the same job at a lower pay rate.
“But right now the vast majority of workers in the Pilbara are not covered by valid, current enterprise agreements. That’s because industry has been working with conservative governments for decades to stamp out collective bargaining in the Pilbara,” he continued.
“Over time our union wants to see more sites covered by EAs. But even if every mining employee in the Pilbara was suddenly and magically covered by an EA tomorrow, the effect of the Closing Loopholes legislation on mining profitability would be miniscule,” he added.
According to WMWA co-secretary Brad Gandy, it is critical to recognise the context of the mining lobby’s ‘scare campaign’.
“The Pilbara iron ore industry has profit margins that other Australian industries can only dream of and that are higher than iron ore operations in Canada, Africa and Brazil,” Gandy said.
He stated that the WA mining industry’s future is not threatened by providing secure jobs and fair wages, as these companies often bully governments over policy, threatening to leave, but they are simply ‘crying wolf’.
“At their recent AGM, BHP CEO Mike Henry bragged about the high production figures and profitability of WA iron ore, leading to massive profits and dividend payments,” he recalled.
“To be spending millions fighting rights for Australian workers at the same time is shameful. The profits and power of these mining giants have been growing and growing, but rights and protections for workers have not kept up,” he added.