Workers walk off site after argument at BMA mine in CQ
A SPAT between a safety representative and a supervisor reportedly fuelled hundreds of workers to abandon their posts at a Central Queensland mine, threatening a three-day shutdown.
The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union believes a site safety health representative arrived at BMA's Saraji mine near Moranbah to begin inspecting parts of the site.
When he started, CFMEU mining and energy division general secretary Andrew Vickers said management stood in his way.
Safety reps are elected by other workers to act on their behalf when dealing with possible safety hazards.
Mr Vickers said the safety rep copped verbal and physical abuse from the supervisor.
"As I understand it, the broader membership (of the union) were becoming aware and found the whole thing intolerable.
"They called a meeting and voted unanimously for a 72-hour stoppage from 6pm (on Tuesday)."
After miners began walking from the site, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance headed to the Fair Work Commission, eventually forcing workers to restart working from 2am.
It was thought up to 250 workers walked from the site.
Mr Vickers said he was "appalled" a BMA supervisor would treat an elected safety rep that way.
"Had (the supervisor) been a member of ours and done this to management, he would be sacked or at least stood aside to be dealt with," he said.
"I understand the manager is still walking around the mine and management is taking a nonchalant attitude towards it.
"It's simply intolerable."
BMA declined to comment beyond confirming workers left the site at 6pm as part of "unauthorised industrial action" before being ordered to return by Fair Work.