BHP Billiton has been accused of ‘‘excessive’’ action locking out striking mining supervisors at its Appin mine for the third time in four weeks.
Supervisors had planned to hold protected stop-work meetings during weekend shifts to discuss a long-running pay dispute.
Appin’s 52 mining supervisors were locked out in January and earlier this month for similar reasons.
Through their union, the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers of Australia, they are calling for a pay increase they say would bring their salary packages into line with their peers at other mines.
The association’s chief executive, Chris Walton, said the lock-outs would not help to resolve the dispute.
‘‘Every lock-out is disruptive and makes resolution more difficult and further away,’’ Mr Walton said.
BHP has previously said the pay claim is unrealistic and the supervisors’ earnings are in the top 25 per cent of equivalent roles in the industry.