CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth says more than 4000 mine workers will strike.
CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth says more than 4000 mine workers will strike. Tara Miko

$9b BHP profit sparks mine walkout

MORE than 4000 Bowen Basin coal miners will walk off the job and deliver an estimated $150 million blow to mining giant BHP next week.

The Single Bargaining Unit seized on the company's latest half-yearly profit of $9 billion to bolster its call for further compromise on the remaining issues which would resolve the ongoing conflict.

Protected industrial action notices were filed for Norwich Park, Goonyella Riverside, Gregory, Crinum, Blackwater, Peak Downs and Saraji with the company late yesterday afternoon.

"Anyone who is covered by the existing certified agreement will be undertaking protected industrial action for seven days beginning on Wednesday," CFMEU district president Stephen Smyth said.

From noon Wednesday, seven BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) mine sites will be run by a skeleton staff of contract labourers as the SBU intensifies its protest to the long-running enterprise agreement dispute that began 15 months ago.

Mr Smyth said the recent Fair Work Australia ruling which enforced an opt-out clause for 200 Newlands Coal miners would not impact the industrial action decision.

He said the unionised workforce generated $3 million profit each day for the international conglomerate's Bowen Basin coalface, and BMA's attempt to remove safety clauses from the enterprise agreement was putting worker safety at risk in pursuit of the bottom line.

BMA asset president Steve Dumble rejected the suggestion the company was stripping its workers of safety conditions, and instead accused the SBU of pushing their own agenda and limiting the competitiveness of the international conglomerate.

"Such safety claims have absolutely no basis and are mired in the past," Mr Dumble said.

BMA declined to comment on the potential financial impact.