Family-friendly rosters a priority for AMWU at Cape Lambert

The push for family friendly rosters is heating up, with
union members around the country trying to negotiate for three-weeks on, one-week
off rosters to become standard practice in their EBAs.

Union meetings at the Cape Lambert iron ore loading facility
in Western Australia yesterday showed that around 500 contractors on the Rio Tinto
site were in full support of a standard three-week stint, which will be
included in the log of claims in upcoming EBA negotiations.

A spokesperson for the Australian Manufacturing Worker’s
Union (AMWU) told Australian Mining
that Rio Tinto has already said that these conditions are covered in the EBAs
under site contractors Laing O’Rourke and Monadelphous, and that it will be up
to those contractors to agree or disagree with the move.

AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said that workers
viewed time with their families to be a higher priority than salary.

“The workers understand that this could mean a drop in
wages, as they spend less time time at work, and they are happy to give ground
on this,” he said.

The total amount of time lost in changing to a three week
stint amounts to between four and six weeks per year, per worker.

McCartney said EBA negotiations at the Cape Lambert site are
due to begin in the next few weeks, with the AMWU considering the pursuit of “family-friendly”
rosters as the highest priority.

“Our members know that family is the most important thing in
life, which is why we are prioritising more family friendly rosters in our EBA
negotiations for this project,” he said.

Current EBAs at the Cape Lambert Site expire on June 30 this
year.

On the east coast on Queensland’s Curtis Island, the AMWU
has been locked in negotiations with LNG plant contractor Bechtel to make the
same change to a three week stint for nearly 12 months, a claim which remains a
sticking point in the bargaining process.

Longer rosters have been attributed to family breakdown and
mental health problems for workers, and opinions vary about the optimum amount
of time a worker can spend away from their family, although the most common preference
is for two-weeks on, one-week off.

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