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Global network of BHP workers launch campaign against outsourcing

Outsourcing is a ghost that haunts BHP’s permanent workforce across the world.

In a bid to cut labour costs, the mining giant is replacing permanent workers with temporary contracts. BHP employs around 260,000 permanent workers and 34,500 outsourced workers.

Wanting an end to the outsourcing, IndustriALL unions have launched a campaign calling on BHP to #ShowRespect and stop outsourcing jobs. At IndustriALL Global Union’s BHP network meeting in Santiago de Chile on 23 and 24 September, workers told about the problems they are facing in the workplace.

Australian union CFMEU Mining and Energy has a campaign to reject outsourcing and to urge BHP increase the number of women workers.

Workers from Chile underlined a number of health and safety issues at BHP and said that 65 per cent of the BHP workforce in the country is outsourced.

Other problems BHP unions face around the world include:

  • union busting
  • death threats
  • criminalisation of union activities
  • alarming working conditions, excessive working hours at 4,300 metres altitude in Peru, extreme temperature variations in Chile, and exposure to harmful copper dust in Australia
  • obsolete working equipment in some operations, and reports of private trucks being used in  others
  • pollution, with a huge impact on local communities

The meeting was also attended by a number of representatives from NGOs and environmental protection groups. The participants agreed on the importance of alliance building between social actors and trade unions, to press BHP to respect workers’ rights, local communities and the environment.

“The same practices exist in all of BHP’s operations: a policy of casualisation and outsourcing.

“It is a powerful company that is failing to comply with the fundamental rights of its workers and communities. BHP has global policies yet fails to promote social dialogue at global level,” says Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary.


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