BHP lodges High Court appeal on public holiday ruling

BHP has posted annual production records at Western Australia iron ore, Olympic Dam and Spence.

BHP has posted annual production records at Western Australia iron ore, Olympic Dam and Spence. Photo: AAP

Mining giant BHP wants the country’s highest court to overturn requirements for staff to be asked if they want to work on public holidays before they are rostered on.

BHP has filed a special leave application to the High Court seeking to overturn a Federal Court ruling from March that the company’s labour hire firm Operation Services had breached the Fair Work Act.

The Federal Court found the breach happened after Operations Services required employees at the Daunia mine in central Queensland to work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in 2019, rather than asking if they would be willing to work on those holidays.

The mining company filed the special leave application in April this year, and while the appeal has been accepted by the court’s registry, it has not been decided whether the leave has been granted.

BHP has argued the decision by the Federal Court would have implications for other industries that would require people to work on public holidays, such as emergency services and transport.

The CFMMEU brought the original case to the Federal Court, claiming Operation Services had breached the national employment standards in the Fair Work Act or the Black Coal Mining Industry Award.

A spokeswoman for BHP defended the workplace policies for its employees.

“BHP’s Operations Services team provides stable, secure, permanent jobs for more than 4000 people who deliver maintenance and production services to our mining operations across Australia,” the spokeswoman said.

“In addition to being permanent, well-paid positions above relevant awards, these roles come with a package of additional benefits including annual, sick and parental leave, annual performance bonuses and access to BHP’s employee share scheme.”


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