THE new three-year enterprise deal between workers and BHP Billiton coal miners failed to recognise the importance of skilled workers and apprentices, according to a union involved in its negotiation.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union was part of the trio of trade unions that spent 24 months locked in negotiations with BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance as they thrashed out a new agreement covering five Central Queensland mines.
AMWU Bowen Basin organiser Jason Lund said he was already being told of emerging disputes between workers and BMA less than a week after the deal was formalised by Fair Work Australia on October 26.
He said the agreement did not specifically recognise trade-skilled staff and lacked detail on how many apprentices BMA was to train.
Years spent wrangling - even as mines were mothballed - frustrated members who Mr Lund said were ready to end the fighting.
The union's position was to neither support nor endorse each proposed agreement, leaving it to workers to decide.
"The membership looked at this and thought, 'Is this the best deal? No it's not, but it will get us through the next three years'," Mr Lund said.
"We could have boxed on for a lot longer but at what point do you say enough is enough?
"It was up to the (three unions) to make the judgment and say, 'Let's roll it out to the members and see what happens'."
BMA declined to comment.
WHAT A MINER CAN EARN
2013/14: $87,968- $146,212.
OVERTIME PER HOUR:
Free membership at Moranbah gym.
Two pairs of prescription glasses if needed.
Must supply own tools, but will be replaced if damaged on site.
Workers can receive up to $15,000 a year, paid per week, as a bonus.
If made redundant, will receive $5000 to relocate.