FIFO workers do it better: BHP
BHP Billiton claims its FIFO-staffed Caval Ridge and Daunia mines are 26% more productive than any of its other residential worker-based Bowen Basin operations have been slammed by the CFMEU as "misleading and downright dangerous".
Union mining and energy district president Stephen Smyth said suggesting non-FIFO central Queensland workers were "not good enough" was a slap in the face for men and women who had delivered enormous profits to BHP over generations.
"Caval Ridge and Daunia are new mines and all new mines are designed to be more efficient," Mr Smyth said.
"With brand new equipment and technology, as well as shorter haul distances and lower strip ratios, it is inevitable that newer mines are more productive than ageing mines with older equipment, long haul distances and high strip ratios," he said.
"There is no evidence that productivity outcomes at Caval Ridge and Daunia are related to insisting workers live in Brisbane or Cairns.
"If there is a link, we note the generous tax concessions companies like BHP get when they hire FIFO workers from the big cities and build camps and we urge governments to act on that."
A BHP spokesman said the company had been improving productivity across all it mines for almost three years.
"In a continued challenging market we must continue to safely reduce our production costs to ensure our mines remain viable, providing employment to thousands of people in central Queensland," he said.
In a recent company survey, 88% of the workforce of 950 at Caval Ridge and Daunia conceded "a high level of concern" the State Government could move to force a reduction in FIFO employees.
The BHP Billiton submission to the State Parliament's fly in, fly out and other long distance commuting work practices in regional Queensland inquiry also stated the average unplanned absence rates at residential mines was nearly 4%, and about 1.5% at FIFO mines.
Retention at residential mines averaged about 1.2% compared to about 0.8% at FIFO mines, which also recorded fewer disputes.