Unions welcome FIFO report as first step to halting suicides

WA Unions have welcomed the tabling of The Impact of FIFO Work Practices on Mental Health: Final Report as the next step towards improving the mental health of FIFO workers.

The joint leadership of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU), the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and UnionsWA congratulated the Committee on the final report.

The final report makes a number of recommendations strongly supported by the WA trade union movement. These include:

  • Encouraging family and worker friendly rosters such as even time or 8 days on 6 days off;
  • Developing a FIFO Code of Practice which emphasises worker access to high quality and reliable communications technology;
  • Minimisation of motelling accommodation practices, and where possible, its abolition;
  • Expanding the duty of care provisions under occupational health and safety legislation to cover incidents which occur within employer provided accommodation.

Steve McCartney, State Secretary of the AMWU said:
“We welcome this bipartisan inquiry report, which has rightly recommended moving away from long rosters such as four weeks on and one week off towards more family and worker friendly rosters such as even time or 8 days on 6 days off.

“Unions pushed for this inquiry and now we expect the Liberal government to take these recommendations seriously. Letting this vital report gather dust is not an option for Colin Barnett.

“We had another tragic reminder of the importance FIFO mental health, with the suicide of one our members just this week.

“We will use this report to push for family friendly rosters and safe workplaces for our members right throughout the FIFO industry.”

Mick Buchan, State Secretary of the CFMEU said:
“Worker health and wellbeing must always come first and it is time industry worked constructively with the union movement on our proposals to improve FIFO work practices for the benefit of workers and their families.

“We have been saying over and over again that something needs to be done about the unsettling impact of motelling on workers, in making them change rooms every time they return to site.

“FIFO construction workers are already under pressure spending long periods away from their family and friends.

“We are pleased that the Committee has made strong recommendations to work towards eliminating these accommodation arrangements.”

ETU State Secretary, Les McLaughlan welcomed the Committee’s recommendation on the need for better communication systems for FIFO workers.

On-site communications are an important lifeline for workers that have to spend long periods away from their family and friends.

“FIFO workers are already under stress and they need to be able to reach out if they need to.”

The unions called on government and the industry to immediately begin implementing the report’s recommendations.


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