Blaming FIFO for failing relationships is a “cop-out”

Blaming fly-in, fly-out rosters for destroying relationships is a “cop-out” a women’s mining group claims.

Slamming anti-FIFO groups, Women in Mining WA says FIFO work is a positive and many employees enjoy the arrangement, Perth Now reports.

In an effort to shed light on the positive elements of FIFO practices, the group is launching a campaign called "The Other Side of FIFO".

The campaign features workers such as 32-year-old Johanna Cowell, an underground manager at Barrick Gold’s Granny Smith mine who lives in South Perth between rotations.

She said no only did the time apart strengthen her relationship with her partner, the six days off has allowed her to study a Masters in Applied Linguistics.

"Because of my love for arts, theatre and music, living in regional Australia was not something I wanted to do," she said.

"With a two-day weekend, time is spent cleaning and doing the jobs that come up before you head back to work. You can accomplish a lot more in six days.

"Personally, I haven't seen any significant increase in the number of relationships breaking down. Blaming relationship issues on FIFO can sometimes be a bit of a cop-out."

Another Granny Smith FIFO worker 31-year-old Michelle Knox said: "The lifestyle is great and, not having kids, it works brilliantly for me."

Earlier last month Australian Mining reported new research revealed women cope better than men when it comes to living the FIFO lifestyle.

The study conducted by the Australasian Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health [ACRRMH] in conjunction with mining, construction and service contractor Thiess showed just how well women handle work on remote construction sites,

“It’s not a stretch, by any means, to conclude that women in mining, resources and remote construction can be more mentally resilient – and therefore safer and more productive – than men,” ACRRMH CEO Jennifer Bowers said.

The University of Queensland (UQ) is also looking into the affects FIFO and DIDO rosters has on children and families.

“The FIFO/DIDO work life is associated with potentially stressful lifestyle disruptions, including prolonged absences for workers from their partners and children, long work hours under often difficult work conditions, and large amounts of time spent commuting between work and home,” chief investigator Dr Cassy Dittman said.

“Despite the increasing prevalence of these work practices, very little has been done to determine the family impact of this lifestyle or to provide tailored support to these families.”

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