The Queensland Government asked for submissions about contract labour hire prior to the upcoming inquiry. How has it affected our pay conditions, personal impact and financial situation? They also asked our solutions to fix it.
I am no financial guru pretending to understand exactly why there are more labour hire these days. There is so much to be said on this subject. My small space in Shift Miner can’t do it justice, but here goes!
The downturn has increased challenges for many in the resources sector.
Big business want operations to continue at lower costs, and a cheaper, more flexible workforce seems to help the bottom line.
It is well known when large companies close their doors it filters through the whole community on many levels, just look at Townsville! As workers, we want our mines to keep operating and ensure our jobs are safe.
Whilst it is good when these companies do keep our jobs, the knowledge of no “permanent” positions in the foreseeable future is not so good. It creates division and uncertainty among the workforce with “us and them” mentality. This can deepen when the labour hire workers are doing the same job for much less money.
Personally I have worked both permanent and labour hire.
The main issues I have experienced and see currently are:
• Don’t dare get sick because you won’t get paid.
• No holidays, unless you choose to go without pay.
• Try getting a loan for a house as a contractor. Many banks won’t touch you, or want to see you have been there for years. (Sadly some have)
• Motelling is the new accommodation catch cry. Bring everything with you, every trip.
• Little or no training is given, including not being authorised to operate equipment you have prior competencies for.
Perhaps the hardest of all is that you could lose your job with the next phone call, or in some cases, a text. No notice, no reason, just don’t come back.
Of course this varies with different sites and labour hire companies, but how much longer will it continue? Hopefully the inquiry will help shed some light on these and many more issues, and put some common sense laws in place.
In the meantime let’s all try to get along and support each other.
Who knows, the government may get us sickies, holidays, same hourly rate as permanents and notice before being put off.
Better still the resources sector could hit another boom, and we all get a permanent gig again, but I’m a glass half full kinda gal!
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