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3,000 workers plan to strike at Queensland coal mines

(Xinhua)

14:11, September 13, 2011

BRISBANE, Australia, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- More than 3,000 workers plan to strike at two BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance ( BMA) coal mines in central Queensland on Friday for speeding up wage negotiations, Australia's Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) said on Tuesday.

A "single bargaining unit," comprising the CFMEU, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing union, has been negotiating with BMA since November last year.

According to CFMEU district president spokesman Stephen Smythe, union members will start industrial action on Friday at Crinum and Gregory mines in the Bowen Basin in central Queensland.

"The monetary aspects of the agreement we have not discussed, and as we told BHP, we are not going to discuss them until the entitlements and conditions were completed," Smythe told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) on Tuesday.

Smythe said there would be shift-long stoppages at Crinum and six hour, or half shift, stoppages at Gregory.

A BMA spokeswoman told AAP the company had offered workers a five percent pay increase each year for three years, a 15,000 AU dollars (15,550 U.S. dollars) bonus paid in weekly installments and an extra 5 percent in superannuation contributions.

The proposal would be put to more than 3,000 employees in a ballot by the end of September.

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