Generic mining operations in central Queensland.
Generic mining operations in central Queensland.

CQ labour hire worker 'unfairly dismissed' from mine

A WORKER at a BHP mine in Central Queensland has won the right to go back to work, after the Fair Work Commission yesterday ordered her reinstatement.

The FWC ordered mineworker Kim Star be reinstated to BHP's Goonyella Riverside mine in Central Queensland, after earlier finding she was unfairly dismissed by her labour hire employer WorkPac.

Ms Star had worked regular shifts on the same crew at Goonyella Riverside for four years as a casual before being informed by WorkPac her role was being "demobilised".

The court was told that BHP directed WorkPac to discontinue Ms Star's employment at the open cut mine but gave no reason.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland vice president Mitch Hughes said the "widespread exploitation" of casuals in the coal mining industry was unfortunately common in Queensland

"In many of our Queensland coal mines fewer than half the workforce is permanently employed, with the majority on casual arrangements through labour hire companies," he said.

"These 'casual' jobs usually aren't casual at all, with regular shifts and long-term rosters working side by side with permanent employees. However, they have no job security or entitlements.

"This decision puts mining companies on notice that they can no longer treat casual workers as disposable."

"Labour hire workers have rights and we will fight for them."

Dawson MP George Christensen has previously said that mining companies need to start shifting away from labour hire as unemployment rates plummet, or risk being unable to attract workers.

If elected to Federal parliament, the Labor Party has committed to introducing labour hire licensing in Australia.