Australia’s $78 billion dollar mining giant, BHP, announced early on that it would be making vaccination a condition of access for all its offices and mine sites.
The road to tyranny has not been smooth for ‘the Big Australian’ however.
First there was WA, where 600 workers failed to show up for work the day after the deadline and the mine site was forced to shut down operations while a compromise was worked out.
In NSW, BHP’s mandate was ruled unlawful by Fair Work Australia. This was after workers were denied access to the mine site following refusal to disclose their vaccination status.
In Queensland, workers have until 17 December to get their first jab, and 31 January 2022 for the second.
Central Queensland coal communities are in absolute uproar over the issue. As of the 5th of December, nearly 70% of workers at the mines are still unvaccinated!
Even worse, from the government’s point of view, those 70% workers are showing NO sign of complying any time soon.
A number of miners have already engaged legal representation and plan to fight the mandate in Federal Court.
The case is likely to be one of national significance given the number of miners who remain unvaccinated and the vital role Coal Mining plays within the economy.
Mining activity in Queensland accounts for around $47.9 billion in a normal year, with about 64% of this output coming from coal.
BHP’s health mandates could be putting all this at risk.
If even a quarter of the coal workers follow through on their threat to walk rather than be coerced, BHP could be forced to shut down its coal mines.
Coal mining is highly specialised, and the company won’t be able to fly in workers as the health sector has done. It also won’t be able to force double shifts and overtime on workers, which the Police Commissioner said they would do to "cover the gap" in the police ranks, as the mining industry has strict safety protocols.
Absolutely nothing like this has been seen before in Queensland. It could literally bring the State’s economy to its knees!
The Miners are hoping to have their case brought before the Federal Court ahead of the January deadline.