UnionsWA has today commented on the recent submission by the Minerals Council of Australia to the Senate Select Committee on the Future of Work and Workers.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary, UnionsWA said:
“In the face of a decade-long and rapid decline in the enrollment of first year engineering students, mining corporations want work to go back to the future.
“The Minerals Council of Australia has proposed higher fees for engineering students, greater use of temporary overseas labour as well as expanding the use of labour hire companies and sub-contractors and radically constraining the ability of unions to negotiate more reasonable FIFO roster arrangements.
“Shifting the cost of an engineering education further onto students will only worsen the chronic workforce shortages.
“During the recent elections the resources sector aggressively campaigned to defeat measures that would have meant they contributed a fairer share of taxation; this revenue is needed to support the education they are now asking be expanded.
“The mining sector needs to do more to improve their work practices and reputation as an employer.
“Rather than seek to address the worsening fly-in fly-out roster arrangements, the Council has called for roster arrangements to the excluded from matters that unions can negotiate and take industrial action around.
“FIFO roster arrangements impact negatively on the health and wellbeing of the workforce and harm relationships with family members and friends.
“It is therefore not surprising that the submission records only 13% of the mining sector workforce are women., among the poorest record of any industry in Australia.
“Despite record low levels of industrial or strike action the Council proposes to further narrow the definition of action that may be taken by a workforce, with support of their unions, in pursuit of improved wages and conditions.
“The Council seeks to expand its use not only of temporary overseas labour, but also expand in an unfettered way the use of labour hire and contracting arrangements.
“Suppressing improvements in wages and preferring insecure work arrangements will always be an impediment to attracting and keeping a highly skilled, stable workforce. “