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Labor to move on FIFO conditions

Construction unions have convinced the ALP national conference to support a wide-ranging crackdown on the working conditions of fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workforces, including enforceable limits on "high compression rosters" (e.g. four weeks on, one off) plus bans on "motelling" and "hot bedding". 

“Motelling” refers to the failure of companies to provide stable accommodation, so that a FIFO worker may have to use a different room each time they fly in to a workplace. “Hot bedding” involves workers from different shifts having to share the same accommodation.

The policy adopted by the conference recognises the "significant contribution" of the resources sector, where FIFO arrangements are common, to the Australian economy but argues that the growing preference by employers for non-residential workforces is having a significant impact on workers, their families and local communities.

It said a Labor government would work with state and local government to establish a regulatory body covering FIFO workforces.

It calls for a regulatory framework that includes:

  • limiting FIFO arrangements to genuinely remote and temporary operations and ensuring that workers are provided with genuine choice over where they live;
  • developing uniform standards that exclude certain forms of shared accommodation (motelling, hot bedding and double bunking) and take into consideration the unique challenges associated with FIFO work arrangements;
  • implementing uniform standards on camp infrastructure, including uninterrupted access to modern digital technology including the internet, Skype and mobile phone reception;
  • mandating the provision of independent on-site mental health professionals on all resource projects; and
  • requiring all companies to submit a local employment policy plan establishing that a FIFO workforce is needed.

The move is a response to ongoing complaints from FIFO workers about accommodation standards as well as to concerns about the impact of FIFO practices on local employment opportunities.

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