The push for family friendly rosters is heating up, with union members around the country trying to negotiate for three-weeks on, one-week off rosters to become standard practice in their EBAs.
Union meetings at the Cape Lambert iron ore loading facility in Western Australia yesterday showed that around 500 contractors on the Rio Tinto site were in full support of a standard three-week stint, which will be included in the log of claims in upcoming EBA negotiations.
A spokesperson for the Australian Manufacturing Worker’s Union (AMWU) told Australian Mining that Rio Tinto has already said that these conditions are covered in the EBAs under site contractors Laing O’Rourke and Monadelphous, and that it will be up to those contractors to agree or disagree with the move.
AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said that workers viewed time with their families to be a higher priority than salary.
“The workers understand that this could mean a drop in wages, as they spend less time time at work, and they are happy to give ground on this,” he said.
The total amount of time lost in changing to a three week stint amounts to between four and six weeks per year, per worker.
McCartney said EBA negotiations at the Cape Lambert site are due to begin in the next few weeks, with the AMWU considering the pursuit of “family-friendly” rosters as the highest priority.
“Our members know that family is the most important thing in life, which is why we are prioritising more family friendly rosters in our EBA negotiations for this project,” he said.
Current EBAs at the Cape Lambert Site expire on June 30 this year.
On the east coast on Queensland’s Curtis Island, the AMWU has been locked in negotiations with LNG plant contractor Bechtel to make the same change to a three week stint for nearly 12 months, a claim which remains a sticking point in the bargaining process.
Longer rosters have been attributed to family breakdown and mental health problems for workers, and opinions vary about the optimum amount of time a worker can spend away from their family, although the most common preference is for two-weeks on, one-week off.