Fortescue breaches miners’ privacy

Fortescue Metals Groups has been accused of breaching its workers privacy through forced locker searches.

Fortescue Metals Groups has been accused of breaching its workers privacy through forced locker searches.

The miner has reportedly forced workers to accept searches of their private lockers at the Cloudbreak mine, according to The West.

West Australian shadow industrial relations minister Fran Logan acquired a document entitled ‘Cloudbreak Village Rules and Guidelines, which stated that miners must sign a declaration which allows Fortescue to conduct a search of their room, locker or vehicle at the company’s discretion.

According to the document, it is to search for prohibited items such as drugs, pornography or ‘offensive materials’, weapons, pets, alcohol and bicycles.

An Fortescue spokesperson said the document does not describe the miner’s actual search policy and is in line with other operators.

“The policy is, as it stands, that searches aren’t commonplace. They are not conducted without cause and, when they are necessary, employee consent it sought,” she told The West.

However, Logan claimed that Fortescue and its accommodation management subcontractor told employees that if they refused to sign the Village Rules document they would not be allowed on site.

The spokesperson stated that workers were not required to the sign the contract, adding that “there was an instance this week that some people were being asked to sign it. That’s been changed. They are not being asked to sign that document now.”

But Logan says the miner has gone too far.

“At a time when these companies are continually whingeing about attracting labour, how about respecting employee’s rights, privacy and property if they want people to work for them,” he said.

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