Thousands of stranded WA FIFO workers need support

Published: 30 Jun 2021

Thousands of FIFO miners will be unable to return from the Pilbara this week due to limits on movement through Perth airport.

The Miners Union is calling on mining companies to provide mental health and practical support to workers unable to return home to or via Perth at the end of their swing, who must instead work a longer roster.

CFMEU Mining and Energy WA Secretary Greg Busson said workers had been understanding and accommodating regarding changes to transport and accommodation during the COVID crisis.

However, he warned they would need support to manage fatigue and mental health issues after more than a year of disruption and lengthy periods away from home due to the pandemic.

“Our resource industry workers have been more than willing to do their bit, but they’re exhausted.

“Some have spent 10 months away from their families and have just gone back to regular living and travel arrangements.

“This week’s lockdown means that thousands of workers will not be able to return home at the scheduled end of their swing this week – at least until Friday – and the other crews can’t fly up to replace them.

“They will be missing their families and tired from an extended period of work. We are calling for employers to recognise the stress workers are under and provide additional support.

“Meanwhile, this pandemic has been going for 18 months. We need to be able to sit down with government, employers and unions and have agreed protocols in place for looking after FIFO workers affected by lockdowns.”