‘Fly-in Fly-out Workers’ Suffering 14

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
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A union has called for an end to 100 per cent fly-in fly-out workforces at Queensland mines following a survey that shows the practice leaves employees tired, stressed and fearful about their jobs.

The CFMEU commissioned an online survey of 1493 miners, many from Queensland’s Bowen Basin, to examine the effects of FIFO work arrangements.

The results showed 69 per cent of miners had fears about their job security, 76 per cent had no choice over their working or living arrangements when they took the job, and 80 per cent identified fatigue as a major problem.

“This research demonstrate very clearly that mining companies and governments must work to put an end to 100 per cent FIFO in the mining industry,” CFMEU spokesman Wayne McAndrew said in Brisbane on Wednesday.

“Our workers and our communities deserve better.”

Former federal independent MP Tony Windsor, who chaired a parliamentary committee that investigated the impacts of FIFO arrangements, said the central Queensland town of Moranbah showed how locals were being locked out of jobs.

“When you develop a compulsory 100 per cent FIFO work practice, it negates their existence entirely,” he said.

“If you dehumanise the workforce in any industry, you run the risk of removing the word community from the dictionary.”

The Regional Australia Committee’s report, in which Mr Windsor was involved, handed down 21 recommendations more than two years ago.

But Mr Windsor said the Abbott government had not responded to the document and the committee had since been disbanded.

The CFMEU has also released a report on the economic and social impacts of the FIFO model on regional centres.

Mr McAndrew said its report suggested that if 30 per cent of the mining workforce was drawn from the Moranbah community, $14.3 million a year would be added to the town’s economy.

He said the Queensland government must step in with binding legislation because mining resources belong to Queenslanders.

“The government does have a say in making sure that when large multinational, powerful resource companies come to this state or anywhere else in Australia, that people are treated equally and fairly.”

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  1. David S

    "There are solutions but it does not suit the mining houses to engage in such solutions, nor are they looking for any. The broken families and suicides will escalate until those problems outweigh the resistence ot change"

  2. Robert Taylor

    I tend to agree.

    Unless the location concerned is extremely remote, there is no reason why at least some locals cannot be used on projects. Whilst some FIFO is obviously necessary, local communities do at least deserve some of the employment benefits associated with major projects.

  3. Tony Fry

    I disagree I work 4 weeks on and 1 week off and love my job and I am not tired or stressed and certainly not worried or fearful of my job.

  4. Jason McBride

    Its physically possible, your body gets used to it, but its your family that suffer.

    I worked 3 on, 1 off for 3 years, most people don't work 6 days straight and we were working 21 days straight, 12 hour days. 12 weeks at home each year, the people doing 4 weeks must feel it more.

    I saw first hand a number of workers relationships breakdown and end from living away. I also saw a few blokes have extra marital affairs, and I'm thinking you selfish shits, your wife is home looking after your 3 kids and you're up to no good.

    You're cutting ties with your children, you miss their weekend sport, helping with the homework, being a fulltime Dad. Fifo is a huge sacrifice for the worker and the wife but we are all chasing the extra money

  5. Angus Plummer

    Extra marital affairs can't be blamed on FIFO

  6. Matthew Cairns

    As a Fifo worker myself I think the blame game is total bull*** I enjoy the fact that i can choose to live where ever i want and i get 6 full days in a row to rest and spend qaulity time with family and friends FIFO is great my opinion is that people with relationship issues and/or suicidal tendencies would still have the exact same problems in a normal job and just use FIFO as their cop out.

  7. Walter Scholler

    I would suggest, if one does not enjoy FIFO work or lifestyle,

    DON'T APPLY FOR THE JOB. to avoid a sad existence.

  8. Kalman Salgo

    I wonder what the survey of non FIFO sites would reveal. I suspect exactly the same. Most committed and hard working employees end up Tired, Stressed and in some organisations Fearful about their jobs. FIFO not the problem. Everyone knows where the issue lies. It is not in personal attitudes of the general workforce. Every company has a department that is suppose to be addressing the issues. They seem to be failing. Or some want us to believe they are. There are real issues in remote workplaces that are under the responsibility of the Mine Manager/SSE. These issues exist in all walks of life and I feel for all who have to cope with them.

  9. Ian Collier

    Tell the unions to get in the real world what they say is a load of crap.The unions have issues within the union bosses not with FIFO it is just not there policy FIFO because they have no control on the work force and I may ad most of these union top guys have never done FIFO.

  10. Chris Iseppi Dip Para

    I would have to agree with all comments made here FIFO has had a target on it for along time even the politicians have had ago, I am a FIFO worker I really like it and my family can live where they want , it gives us what we want, the comments fearful of their jobs and tired well even those who live in a mining town would be more fearful than a FIFO worker, if they bought a house in the town and the mine shuts down they wont get a return on the house, I say this its time people backed off and left FIFO alone its a good life style I have been doing it for over10 yrs I would not have it any other way

  11. Ian Collier

    This survey on FIFO is as always full of rubbish who knows where these unions and others get there imformation. I have worked for 40 years FIFO and love it and 99% FEEL THE SAME WAY THE OTHER 1% JUST GET OUT AND WORK AT A FOOD STALL.. The unions have far reaching reasons to the spread this bull they are doing it all over Australia it is not there place to tell me how I work where I work or how I get there keep out of the FIFO,

  12. Jason Knight

    Some one is always complaining about FIFO roles, Truth is that due to greed and inability for small towns to supply housing and labour in boom times means that companies have to put in place methods to manage this risk, there is only a couple of 100% FIFO mines…..GET OVER IT …. there will be more in the future


    Mark you are so correct that is why I have chosen a FIFO life, I do not want to be living in a mining town for that very reason, plus your days off should be exactly that, not getting a call to go into work to sort something out, I did residential once never again.

  14. Paul Leandri

    FIFO is not for everyone, but if you want a job in mining it's the main game, very few and decreasing residential options available these days. However I feel for the local communities affected by it and think that 100% FIFO is a bad idea if there's locals available. Sure, in the middle of the desert where there's no existing infrastructure it makes sense, but in rural communities – they have to put up with the inconvenience with no real benefit. Surely we can share the wealth? Sure if you want to live in a capital city or beach side town that's your choice, same as if you want to live in the country. As a side benefit you often find country workers are more loyal, harder working and easier to train than city kids. And if they live local, no airfares, housing costs etc. Ah, but then just like the unions with FIFO, it's hard to control them isn't it? Hmm pros and cons to both sides of the debate. Maybe it's just easier to get another machine when the first one breaks?