Striking FIFO workers will be refused accommodation

Fly-in fly-out workers that go on strike will lose their mine accommodation for that period, the Federal Court has ruled.

In its judgement the court said employers were prohibited under the Fair Work act from making payment to striking workers.

The court also ruled accommodation for FIFO workers was included under the definition of "payment," which meant companies had the right to ask striking workers to vacate their dongas.

"… his Honour concluded that the provision of the accommodation was … 'renumeration' paid to the relevant employees and thus amounted to 'payment'," the ruling said.

While the CFMEU complained the decision would make it impossible for FIFO workers to go on strike, the AMMA said providing accommodation was an expense companies could not afford if workers weren't providing labour.

The ruling represents a win for companies in the Pilbara, which have been fighting a rising union presence in the region.

It will also set a precedent and allow other companies to withdraw accommodation rights for striking workers.

Image: Cobham Aviation

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