The Western Mine Workers Alliance (WMWA) has slammed the Minerals Council of Australia over its "bald-faced lies" about the supposed impact of the government's Closing Loopholes Bill on the Pilbara mining industry.
The Minerals Council of Australia has claimed the Closing Loopholes Bill will have a significant effect on Pilbara mining industry and will challenge the viability of future operations.
WMWA co-Secretary Greg Busson said the argument was 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," Mr Busson said.
"The labour hire loopholes provisions within the Closing Loopholes Bill are targeted to apply at sites covered by a valid enterprise agreement, where a labour hire workforce is brought in to do the same job on 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.
"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."
WMWA co-secretary Brad Gandy said it was important to consider 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," Mr Gandy said.
“The idea that the future of the WA mining industry is threatened by providing secure jobs and paying wages in line with collective agreements is absurd. These mega-mining companies love to bully governments over policy by 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.
“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.”
Greg Busson: 0429 033 566
Brad Gandy: 0448 855 920