Union's Blackwater appeal dismissed

The Federal Court has ruled against the CFMEU in its case against BHP.
The Federal Court has ruled against the CFMEU in its case against BHP. Lee Constable

A UNION's claim against BHP's Blackwater mine has taken a hit with a court refusing to hear parts of its allegations.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has taken BHP and mining contractor Downer to the Federal Court claiming BHP and Downer agreed Downer could run parts of the mine at a lower cost than BHP by cutting wages.

But a Federal Court justice struck out parts of the union's claim including a vital passage, paragraph 29. The union then appealed this decision.

The initial court ruled a vital part of the union's claim - detailing the two mining companies agreement - should not be allowed.

In the appeal the union claimed the BHP-Downer agreements that would threaten jobs were not formal contracts but rather agreements that "Downer would replace BHP”. It claimed the justice erred in striking out the claim.

"The documents that we rely on are not contractual documents. We never said they were. But they are documents which contain, effectively, admissions from the parties of the arrangement,” the union claimed.

But the full Federal court ruled it was the union that was wrong.

"The (CFMEU) did not say what it says it meant, and apparently did not mean what it said. The reference to the agreement in paragraph 29 was ambiguous, uncertain and confusing,” the court ruled.

The application was dismissed, no costs were awarded.


Topics:  appeal bhp biliton mitsubishi alliance cfmeu court downer federal court union

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