• Casual workforce a ‘threat’ to mine culture, says industry expert
Casual workforce a ‘threat’ to mine culture, says industry expert
29 Jan, 2019, 2 Comment

Summary: Mining companies’ growing embrace of labour hire and casual workers may be undermining the loyalty of workers that is crucial for safety, collaboration and innovation, an industry expert says.....

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Deloitte Australia national mining leader Ian Sanders said workforce culture was becoming more important in operating mine sites.

Mr Sanders said building a culture that fostered innovation and collaboration would be more problematic if casual workers felt the mine operator had little commitment to them.

“If they are feeling more removed then are they going to bring their best,” he said.

Mr Sanders was speaking ahead of the launch today of a Deloitte report on issues transforming mining’s future.

The report comes as mining workers in increasing numbers are two steps removed from the mining company compared with a permanent employee.

First, they are employed by a contractor or labour-hire company, not the miner.

Half of Fortescue Metals Group’s workers are indirect employees.

BHP Group has increased the proportion of contractors in its workforce from 51 per cent to 57 per cent in two years, and they have accounted for 88 per cent of additional positions over that period.

Second, in a trend unions have dubbed mass-casualisation, many are engaged on a casual basis that can end at any time. In 2017 Rio Tinto moved about 800 Pilbara contract workers to WorkPac as it consolidated to a single labour hire provider.

They were employed under an agreement that specified casual employment could be terminated with four hours’ notice.

Mr Sanders said miners needed to work closely with labour-hire companies to ensure they abided by safety standards.

“I think you are going to see more investment to ensure that from a work perspective they do become more aligned,” he said. “We want people to be thinking more innovatively; we want people to collaborate more, we want people to bring ideas to bear, and to think about how we can do things more efficiently or more effectively.”

Australian iron ore production is predicted to rise moderately this year alongside falling benchmark spot prices, according to a business outlook also released by Deloitte today. Most iron ore miners were expected to remain highly profitable.


Peter Milne, 28/01/2019, thewest.com.au/business/mining/casual-workforce-a-threat-to-mine-culture-says-industry-expert-ng-b881087016z?utm_source=emarsys&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=AM+News+Update+29%2F01%2F19

  • MyPassion

    Leigh Willyams
    02 Feb, 2019

    Been mining for a number of years working across 3rd tier to TOP tier companies, they ALL have one thing in common, they really do not care about staff. Finishing the last 5 yrs with Rio I witness how senior managers went all out to protect their bonuses by forcing staff to stop, fill out safety book before starting on any job no matter how small. Do you really think a contractor would do this, no because Rio has no loyalty to it’s own staff let alone to a contractors so why would a contractor care. 92% of Rio staff have no future in the company and if you are over 45yrs you are dead to them and the Contractors are the same. A landmark court case was won last year by a contractor, case was won by him as company fired him with no reason but court ruled he was the same as a permanent employee working the same hrs, same roster, same duties and he was paid out, I think he had worked there for 3 yrs so a major case for all Contractors so really well done. Yes all the companies want throw away workers and that’s why the Rio staff are joining the unions in droves and management don’t have a clue as they are so divorced from their employees and worry more about the bonus and as for the CEO who advertises himself as JS which really means Jack Shit he is only for his bonuses, last yr Rio made billions and dropped the staff bonus by 10% but no manager lost anything. So are the companies there for the staff, absolutely not in any way at all and same for the contractors. Join a union. Cheers Pixie

  • MyPassion

    Alan Venus
    01 Feb, 2019

    Anyone who knows anything about employment will agree that the principle employer across many industries prefers to distance itself from any liability associated with direct employment therefore hiring through labour hire companies. It is arguably more expensive for mining companies however they can shuffle manpower to and fro inline with commodity prices by simply ending your position, usually by way of the absence of flight details when your expecting to return to work at the end of your roster.

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