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BHP Billiton Provides Submission to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Workplace Relations

​ BHP Billiton today welcomed the opportunity to provide a submission to the Productivity Commission as it considers improvements to the workplace relations framework in Australia.

BHP Billiton’s submission includes recommendations for a number of specific enhancements to the workplace relations framework that could be made in the near term. These amendments would allow employers and employees to more effectively work together to support improvements to productivity and competiveness in the Australian economy.

In its submission, BHP Billiton said reform should be focused on:

  • Implementing current amendments to the Fair Work Act which are before the Parliament on right of entry provisions and agreement provisions for ‘greenfield’ sites;
  • Ensuring that the Fair Work Act restricts enterprise agreement content to terms of employment only and not operational matters that limit productivity improvements;
  • Truly supporting an employee’s choice of representation and equally enabling both non-union and union streams of enterprise bargaining;
  • Providing greater access to relief for employers where industrial action is taken and ensuring that protected industrial action is only available as a last resort; and
  • Amending the Fair Work Act provisions about adverse action to restore the limit on such claims to matters of victimisation due to union membership status or activity.

In addition to these specific measures which can be implemented in the short term, BHP Billiton said it would encourage the Productivity Commission to facilitate a discussion on what is required to ensure the regulatory framework evolves to keep pace with other jurisdictions and to ensure enhanced employment outcomes for the Australian nation in the longer term.

BHP Billiton directly employs approximately 23,000 people and indirectly engages approximately 34,000 contractor employees at its 35 operations across Australia.  Of the approximately US$25 billion that BHP Billiton contributed to the Australian economy in FY2014, about US$4 billion was via employee benefits and expenses.

Mike Henry, BHP Billiton President - Coal, said BHP Billiton believes safe and productive workplaces are built on mutual respect, open and transparent communication, and through fostering an environment for employee development.

“BHP Billiton invests in major industrial infrastructure and equipment that is able to operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year,” Mr Henry said.

“Achieving a safe and productive return on this significant investment is enabled by an appropriate workplace relations framework. In turn, the successful conduct of its operations allows BHP Billiton to contribute strongly to the Australian economy.”

BHP Billiton’s submission to the Productivity Commission review is available here.

Key Facts about BHP Billiton in Australia:

  • BHP Billiton has approximately 23,000 direct employees in Australia
  • BHP Billiton has approximately 34,000 contractor employees in Australia
  • BHP Billiton contributed approximately US$25 billion to the Australian economy in the financial year 2014
  • BHP Billiton contributed approximately US$4 billion towards employee benefits and expenses in the financial year 2014 in Australia

BHP Billiton’s perspective on workplace relations is based on five principles for relationships between the Company and its employees:

  1. Safe and engaging workplaces - Employees have a right to a safe and productive work environment that supports ongoing training and development in fulfilling jobs.
  2. Internationally competitive - Businesses must have access to employment arrangements that enable them to adapt to the external environment in which they compete, making jobs more secure.
  3. Diverse and inclusive - Policy and legislation that supports diversity of thought, gender, experience, ethnicity and sexual orientation that will deliver superior capability.
  4. Reward aligned to performance - While ensuring a fair and reasonable minimum, businesses must be able to better align the reward of employees with better business outcomes (both what and how).
  5. Simplicity - Policy and legislation should drive towards a simplified system of both processes and agreements that enhance the levels of collaboration and cooperation between employers and employees (current and future).

 For more information, please see our News Release.