'We just take the abuse, the bullying': The human cost of WA's FIFO economy
2017-10-30 06:02:47

Opinion: Only those having done FIFO, can truly understand. But it's not them alone that suffer. Their partner feels for their loved one. The kids can't understand why dad reacts the way he does. "Doesn't Dad love me anymore?" they ask themselves. This is the furthest from the truth but there are just things the worker can't or won't talk about, besides, they won't understand and there's nothing they can do about. Or is there? But we should not look at FIFO workers alone. Neither should we look at just one gender. Those residential workers in remote sites away from family, friends and decent TV suffer as well. Some may even have family with them, but not always. The kids may be elsewhere, partner not bringing in the second income, close friends in another state. I have firsthand experience. I've done FIFO work in several states, but none can compare to the one BHP site I worked at. Thankfully is was the only site, ever. Swearing openly by the supervisor to subordinates was a common tactic. Demeaning individuals in meetings was regular. Taking credit was not uncommon. The matter was taken higher up. There are things that cannot be tolerated continuously. But things only got worse. It’s was obvious that the supervisor had been spoken to. The swearing in the open slowed down, but now it became personal and systematic. Behind closed doors with no witnesses in ear-shot made it direct and destructive "You’re not pulling your weight," "You're an embarrassment to me, management and the Department," "You've let the Department down," "No pay increase for you." Very precise tasks and instructions given to complete with-in a distinct deadline. Task or project milestones had to be met. One particular re-designated task, outstanding for years now had to be completed with-in a impossible timeframe. Was that person a competitor? Where instructions purposely vague or unreachable? Who knows? Who cares? It was a one-horse race. This intimidation and subtle aggression affects motivation, self-confidence, careers and too often the desire to continue with anything and I mean anything. I may not have finger-nails to bite, I may still take to the bottle occasionally, but I’m one of the lucky ones. I have an understanding partner I could and still talk to. I may not be getting the big-bucks, I sleep more than just a few hours a night, I no longer spend all those hours at the office and the week-ends are mine. Martin, 26/10/17

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