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Resource council rejects damning FIFO research

Concreters are hard at work at the QCLNG project on Curtis Island, Gladstone.
Concreters are hard at work at the QCLNG project on Curtis Island, Gladstone. Brenda Strong

THE Queensland Resources Council has rejected research finding fly-in fly-out workers feel their employers are unsupportive and do not care about their wellbeing.

But the peak industry group has admitted more could be done to provide support to mining workers and their families.

Research out of the Western Australia-based Murdoch University surveyed FIFO workers and their partners and found the partners felt the FIFO employment situation placed stress on their family relationships.

Partners without children were less satisfied with their relationship than partners who had dependant children.

QRC chief executive Michael Roche says recent industry research contradicts the findings.

"Our own research of 2000 workers shows that fly-in fly-out chose that work-life style because it suits their family lives," he said.

"Overwhelming the research showed FIFO prefer that type or work because it suits their lifestyle and residential workers swore by their choice of living close to work."

Mr Roche said some companies had established support networks to help the families of FIFO workers but admitted more could be done.

"I think there is more work to be done in providing appropriate support for families and workers who are doing the FIFO lifestyle," he said.

Murdoch University researcher Libby Brooks explained the 314 FIFO workers who participated in the study rated their organisational support about mid-way, meaning they did not feel very much emotional attachment to employers.

"The workers also rated perceived supervisor support as low, showing they don't feel valued for their contributions and don't believe their supervisors genuinely care about their wellbeing," she said.

"Since workers see their supervisors' attitudes as a reflection of the organisation's attitude as a whole, this is significant."

Explaining why partner's may feel more unhappy with their FIFO roster than the actual worker, the research theorised the workers may focus on the longer period of leave - up to 28 days in some cases after working 21 days on - while partners focus on their loved one's time away.

Topics:  fifo queensland resource council


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