Media blackout for mediation

A MEDIA blackout has been put in place by three unions and mining giant BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance as the two sides enter mediation this week.

After a 20-month stoush including a number of Fair Work Australia decisions, strikes and unpredictable stoppages, delegates met in Melbourne on Monday for early discussions.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, Electrical Trades Union and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union will now sit down with BMA to thrash out a compromise.

This trio of unions, called the "single bargaining unit" or SBU, previously have called for mediation with the company but that had been denied.

As a condition of the mediation, neither side is to make public comment until mediation is completed.

Meetings are expected in Brisbane on Thursday and Friday.

A statement from the SBU read: "Both sides acknowledge that the success of mediation will rely on confidential, good-faith discussions to which all have given their full commitment".

The CFMEU declined to make any comment beyond the statement.

BMA has also been sought for comment.