BHP Billiton says tugboat union demands unreasonable

SYDNEY Wed May 21, 2014 12:39am EDT

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SYDNEY May 21 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton said on Wednesday demands by tugboat workers' union threatening industrial action at the Port Hedland iron ore port were "unreasonable".

"We feel the MUA (Maritime Union of Australia) demands are unreasonable," Jimmy Wilson, president of BHP's iron ore division, told reporters.

BHP has already warned that a strike would cost $100 million in lost sales a day, based on exports running at around 1.1 million tonnes a day at a price of around $100 a tonne.

Deckhands, engineers and masters of the tugboats that guide vessels in and out of the port are pressing operator Teekay Shipping for more pay and leave. (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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