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Australian union files equal pay applications for BHP coal mine workers in Queensland

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Adds BHP's comment in paragraphs 4-5

June 12 (Reuters) -Australia's Mining and Energy Union (MEU) has filed for "same job same pay" orders covering 1,700 labour-hire workers at three large BHP BHP.AX coal mines in Queensland, it said on Wednesday.

If successful, the applications to the Fair Work Commission would lift the pay of affected labour-hire workers by A$10,000 ($6,607.00) to A$40,000 a year.

"Today's applications are a major step towards stamping out this model (casual labour hire model) and closing the loopholes that have allowed BHP to avoid paying fair rates in site enterprise agreements," MEU Queensland President Mitch Hughes said in a statement.

A BHP spokesperson confirmed that the company had received the applications.

"Our focus remains on building productive and equitable workplaces that provide opportunity and reward high-performance, as well as supporting Australia competitiveness," the spokesperson said.

BHP in November said it opposed the legislation, saying it produces inflationary wage pressures while putting Australian jobs at risk.

It also said the legislation takes away the ability to reward employee's experience, high performance, innovation and success.

Wednesday's applications for regulated labour-hire arrangement orders cover workers employed by WorkPac, Chandler Macleod, and BHP subsidiary Operations Services at Peak Downs, Saraji, and Goonyella Riverside open-cut mines in Central Queensland's Bowen Basin.

Peak Downs, Saraji, and Goonyella Riverside are three of the five Queensland coal mines owned by the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance and operated by BHP.

($1 = 1.5135 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Roushni Nair in Bengaluru and Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing by Alan Barona, Subhranshu Sahu and Varun H K


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