Miners key to ending dispute
THE end point of a bitter dispute between the world's largest coal exporter and a trio of unions will depend on mine workers this week.
Following a breakthrough in mediation on Friday, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, Electrical Trades Union and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, will head to "lodges" - mine-site branches - to see if its paying membership support what was done at a table in Brisbane.
Both BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance and the unions are bound by a media ban - a measure put in place when mediation began last Monday.
The public comment moratorium, plus some help from Bill Kelty, did the trick with each side simultaneously announcing a "framework agreement" just days later.
By signing this deal, both sides showed compromise on notoriously difficult areas to negotiate including rostering and ensuring contractors were protections closer to what full time workers received.
The unions began heading to each lodge on Monday, expecting to have views fully canvassed within a week.
CFMEU mining district president Stephen Smyth told CQ News he hoped for a solution within a fortnight.
It is understood that each lodge may not agree on identical deals, but strong support could put an end to the long-standing bouts of industrial action.
The unions and BMA each declined to comment, citing the media blackout.