A resources industry support group has launched a fly in, fly out (FIFO) awareness campaign to show the benefits of the work arrangement, following recent high-profile criticism of its effects on employee health.
Women in Mining WA unveiled The Other Side Of FIFO on 11 July, with the aim to dispel negative media reports and social perception by presenting the positive experiences of FIFO work for both women and men.
Women in Mining WA founder Sabina Shugg stated that a recent, widely reported parliamentary inquiry maintained a basis in propaganda rather than fact, with an intention to “provide more incentive for FIFO workers to become residential workers.”
“The tone of the report is summarised in its provocative title: Cancer of the bush or salvation for our cities? We want to emphasise that it’s not all negative, and many people benefit from, and genuinely enjoy the FIFO lifestyle,” Ms Shugg said. FIFO work has been attributed as a central stimulus for negative life patterns for workers, including marital problems and breakdowns, and psychological and lifestyle stress.
Last month, suicide prevention agency Lifeline and psychologists from Edith Cowan University released the results of a study on the relationship between FIFO/DIDO lifestyles and unhealthy stress management practices.
“Claims that FIFO is ruining WA families are misguided,” Barrick Gold Granny Smith mine general manager Julie Shuttleworth said.
“Many people have relationship problems regardless of their work schedules and they may be forgetting to look at the other areas of the relationship.”
As a FIFO worker for more than 18 years, Ms Shuttleworth said she was disappointed with the media’s portrayal of the demographic.
“I love working FIFO; with my days off, I have a great work-life balance,” she said.
“The feedback I’ve had from the Granny Smith team is that everyone enjoys the FIFO lifestyle, and looks forward to their six days off and getting to spend quality time with their families.
It can sometimes be tough, but it’s a matter of looking at your individual situation before deciding if FIFO is for you.”