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FIFO Survey By CFMEU Finds Many Workers Afraid to Speak Out

FIFO Survey By CFMEU Finds Many Workers Afraid to Speak OutA survey of FIFO and DIDO workers conducted by the CFMEU has found many workers fear they will be targeted or sacked if they raise concerns with their employer.

The Essential Research survey of 1493 workers across northern Australia found:

  • Insecurity: More than two-thirds (69%) fear they’ll lose their current job
  • Stress: Most experience personal stress (58%) and family stress (58%) because of their work arrangements; workers with partners and dependent children are most affected
  • No choice: Most FIFO workers (76%) had no choice over their working and living arrangements when they took their job
  • Fatigue: 80% of commuting workers say fatigue is a big issue in their workplace, with many driving and flying long hours at each end of their roster
  • Fear: Many workers (42%) were uncomfortable raising issues with their employer, often citing fear of being targeted or sacked.
  • Control: Nearly half (47%) of commuting workers say their employer is very controlling, even when they are at their camp accommodation.
  • Punishing rosters: Rosters allowing more family time was the top change commuting workers wanted.
  • Struggling communities: Nearly all commuting workers support the view that mining companies should allow local access to jobs where local workers are available (96%) and should be obliged to support local communities and businesses (82%).

CFMEU Mining and Energy General Vice President Wayne McAndrew said the survey exposed a number of disturbing trends in the resources industry.

“The high level of job insecurity reflects the current cost-cutting drive that is seeing companies ruthlessly slash jobs at any suggestion of a compromise on profits,” said Mr McAndrew.

“Permanent jobs are being cut or replaced by insecure, lower-paid contract work across our industry.

“Companies are also becoming more controlling about work and living arrangements; locking locals out of job opportunities and insisting all workers must commute from specific locations.

“Our survey found that many commuting mineworkers, whether FIFO or DIDO, are spending many hours travelling to and from their place of work causing exhaustion when adequate fatigue management measures aren’t in place.

“Meanwhile workers who live in traditional mining communities say their towns are dying because mining companies refuse to hire locals or engage with local businesses.

“Mining is an important employer across Northern Australia and commuting workforces are an important to the industry.

“But employers need to do the right thing by workers and their families: give them the job security they deserve, treat them with respect, prioritise fatigue management, support local jobs and communities and give workers real freedom of choice over where they live.”

A copy of the research report can be downloaded here.

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