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AWU mining members are safer and more secure at work

April 15, 2020

The AWU has been in lengthy and detailed negotiations with Rio Tinto, BHP, Sodexo and FMG over new COVID-19 safety arrangements.

Representatives from the Western Mine Workers’ Alliance ‚Äď a joint initiative of The Australian Workers’ Union and the Mining and Energy Division of the CFMMEU ‚Äď have had largely constructive talks with the mining sector, which will ensure operations can continue safely across the country. Discussions have centred on overcoming border closures for FIFO/DIDO workers, isolation protocols, roster changes and fatigue management – and you can read our FAQ sheet here.

With all these changes taking place, it’s vital you speak to your union representative with any concerns,¬†and if you are not a member sign up today.

The AWU is delivering real results on your behalf that will maintain operations and job security through this crisis and beyond. 

These are challenging times, but member concerns relating to work safety and job security are being taken seriously and acted on.

Importantly, any new COVID-19 related changes to conditions are being classified as temporary. Protocols and changes will end when the COVID-19 crisis draws to a close, which guarantees that no members will be worse off under any new roster changes in the long run. It also means that our health and safety reps will be consulted every step of the way.

There remain some serious safety issues over roster changes, with Sodexo in particular, that need to be addressed.

Rio Tinto Outcomes

New fly in fly out (FIFO) rosters will consist of 2 and 2 (7 days, 7 nights and 14 off) and include one rest day in the 14 day on-cycle and more frequent breaks. Workers on the new roster will also receive an extra $1000 bonus a month.

For interstate FIFOs, Rio has already relocated around half of their interstate FIFOs to WA with families and partners being accommodated in Perth. Those who have relocated will receive $250 per day.

For interstate FIFOs who have been unable to relocate, Rio will continue to arrange work from home options or local redeployment where possible, or provide two weeks special leave and allow employees to access leave and advanced leave entitlements.

If you have questions or concerns, contact your delegate or organiser so we can assist.

Unresolved Rio Tinto Issues 

The AWU has made clear that all interstate FIFO members who cannot relocate must be provided COVID-19 leave, which is at least 50 per cent of employee’s normal salary. This will be essential to re-engage members who are unable to travel to work once the crisis passes.

Unlike BHP and FMG, Rio Tinto has not yet moved to protect at-risk workers. Operations in remote areas with at-risk indigenous communities are continuing, and workers with links to these communities are also working, which further increases the risk of COVID-19, would could have a devastating impact.

Other workers at risk, such as individuals aged 60 or over with respiratory conditions, are also expected to continue working. The AWU is calling on Rio Tinto to follow BHP and FMG’s lead, and allow members to stay home on full pay to protect themselves and their communities.

BHP Outcomes

New fly in fly out (FIFO) rosters will consist of 2 and 2 (7 days, 7 nights and 14 off) and like Rio will include one rest day in the 14 day on-cycle and more frequent breaks. Workers on the new roster will also receive a reasonable additional renumeration.

BHP has already relocated a large part of its interstate FIFO workforce to WA with families and partners being accommodated in Perth. Members are being compensated for expenses such as accommodation, car hire and food.

The AWU is pursuing arrangements for interstate FIFOs who could not relocate on similar terms to that of Rio Tinto.

If you are unsure or have questions about the above contact your delegate or organiser so we can assist.

BHP is also commended for its response on protecting at-risk workers during this time. This is designed to allay community concerns over the transmission of COVID-19 in WA and to protect vulnerable individuals.

FMG Outcomes

AWU concerns over FMG’s proposed 4 and 2 rosters (14 days, 14 nights, 14 off) were raised and addressed by FMG during talks.

FMG agreed to AWU requirements that it must provide at least three paid RDOs in the 28-day cycle to mitigate fatigue. FMG also guaranteed the new roster would be temporary, factored in the additional staff that would be required to cover RDOs and has given members on the new roster an extra $1000 a month.

All FIFO members will also get one extra week of annual leave that can be taken once operations return to normal.

Most interstate FIFOs have already been relocated and have been provided with free accommodation and all meals.

If you have concerns about the above, please contact your organiser or delegate so we can assist you.

SODEXO Pilbara Support Services Outcomes

Sodexo has also proposed to go with a 4 and 2 roster, but so far have not agreed to provide members with three days of RDOs.

The AWU is seriously concerned about member safety and fatigue and we will not support the new roster until Sodexo increases total RDOs from the single one it is presently proposing. This is only fair in the circumstances and the fact that FMG can do this should encourage SODEXO to follow suit.

The AWU is also pressing Sodexo on details for its extra renumeration package for workers on the new roster.

With all these changes taking place,¬†it’s vital you speak to your union representative with any concerns¬†and if you are not a member sign up today.

The AWU is delivering real results on your behalf that will maintain operations and job security through this crisis and beyond.

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