By Stuart Condie 
 

SYDNEY--BHP Group's attempt to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for workers at an Australian coal mine has been ruled unlawful by the country's industrial relations tribunal because of the way it was implemented.

The global mining giant had sought to deny workers' access to the Mt. Arthur mine in New South Wales state if they could not prove their vaccination status. Australia's Fair Work Commission on Friday ruled the action didn't comply with the workers' enterprise agreement.

The commission acknowledged that employers face a difficult task in managing risks for workers but found that BHP had not properly consulted with employees. The commission said it might have ruled in BHP's favor "had the respondent consulted the employees in accordance with its consultation obligations".

BHP had wanted all workers at the mine to have received at least a single does of a Covid-19 vaccine by Nov. 10, and to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 31.

The commission left open the possibility for BHP to consult with workers before addressing the vaccine mandate issue again.

"Any subsequent dispute will need to be determined having regard to the particular circumstances at the time," it said.

BHP didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Write to Stuart Condie at stuart.condie@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 03, 2021 04:49 ET (09:49 GMT)

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