BHP facing strike action

August 1, 2001


PORT KEMBLA — Unions representing workers at BHP Steel have been angered by a decision by Serco to reduce staffing at a number of ambulance stations, including two 24-hour stations.

Serco also plans to replace some stations with a roving or mobile ambulance service. Unions are concerned that workers' safety will be compromised as a result.

Serco, which is contracted to supply protective services at the steelworks, sparked industrial action in June when it attempted to force BHP-employed workers onto individual contracts. After union action Serco was forced to negotiate a collective agreement with the workers.

On July 25, a meeting of delegates from the different unions represented at BHP voted to enforce a resolution, passed earlier in the year, to take industrial action if ambulance stations were de-staffed. Four thousand BHP workers are expected to participate in a stop-work meeting on July 30.

This meeting will discuss the details of proposed strike action. It will also provide an opportunity to discuss concerns about the contracting out of maintenance work at the steelworks.

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