Mining giant underpaid workers

Australian mining giant BHP says it underpaid current and former workers across the country for 13 years.

Around 28 500 employees received less holiday than they were entitled to, a review conducted by the firm found.

Meanwhile, 400 workers did not get additional allowances “due to an error with the employment entity”.

BHP says it has reported the incident to the authorities and the errors will cost the company up to $280m before taxes.

Some affected employees had their leave incorrectly deducted on Australian public holidays, the company found. As a result they were owed a total of six days of leave on average.

“We are sorry to all current and former employees impacted by these errors. This is not good enough and falls short of the standards we expect at BHP,” Geraldine Slattery, BHP’s Australia president, said.

“We are working to rectify and remediate these issues, with interest, as quickly as possible,” she added.

The firm also said it has commissioned a review of its payroll systems. It added that it would provide an update on its investigations during its full-year earnings call in August.

BHP, which is headquartered in Melbourne, is the world’s biggest miner.

It has around 80 000 employees and contract workers at sites including the Escondida mine in Chile, which is the largest copper mine in the world.

As well as its shares being listed in Australia, the company was part of the UK’s blue chip FTSE 100 index for around a decade.

In January 2022, the firm took its shares off the London market after coming under pressure from some investors to simplify its corporate structure.

Supporters of the move argued that it would make it easier for BHP to raise money, do deals and return money to shareholders. (BBC)