FIFO workers' partners and families are unhappy, stressed

FLY-in, fly-out workers feel undervalued and their partners are generally dissatisfied with their lives, according to two academic reports from a Perth university.

The two research papers, from Murdoch University's School of Psychology, are the latest in a string of attacks on the emerging need for FIFO workers to work on isolated mining and construction sites.

Earlier this month, an award-winning Brisbane academic said the FIFO nature of the industry was creating "hot boxes of crime".

It also follows an expansive federal parliamentary inquiry that began in August last year but is yet to publish its findings.

Of the two Murdoch reports, one focussed on whether workers and their families were personally satisfied with their FIFO roles.

It found that, in general, the FIFO staff were content in their roles, although partners were less satisfied.

Those with primary school-aged children were more likely to be unhappy but those partners with no children reported feeling the most stress.

The second was taken with an interest in how workers felt about managers, their role and the amount of support received.

In this research, of the 223 FIFO workers surveyed, the average response was that they did not feel a strong sense of belonging to their employer.

They also reported, on average, to feeling unsure about the level of support given.

Research supervisor Libby Brook said the papers showed workers did not feel valued for their contributions or that supervisors cared about their well-being.

"Since workers see their supervisors' attitudes as a reflection of the organisation's attitude as a whole, this is significant," Mrs Brook said.

She said companies were making a major effort to improve support for these fly-in workers, but said the research showed more needed to be done.

In early 2012, the Queensland Resources Council published research based on 2013 workers surveyed.

Of those, roughly half lived near their work site and half had to either drive or fly to work.

It suggested just 12% of workers reported wanting to change accommodation arrangements.

The report also found 90% preferred to live on the coastline against living near their workplace.Murdoch University is continuing its research in the area.



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