MINING companies need to factor in the “social cost” on employees when negotiating on employees’ rights, former Mount Isa mayor Ron McCullough said.
Glencore employees are voting on the Enterprise Agreement with a secret ballot held at meetings on Monday and Tuesday at Buchanan Park.
Mr McCullough said inflexible rosters and shift work were detrimental to the community and health of miners’ families.
“Mining companies want to maximise income for shareholders, I understand that, but it really is time the government and these companies factored in the social cost of 12-hour shifts and seven days on, seven days off rosters,” he said.
“They need more favourable hours so the community and families can benefit.”
Mr McCullough said a Monday to Friday roster would assist in community involvement and healthier family life.
“The people I’ve spoken to, in particularly in the past year, are less happy with the long hours and feel that the seven-on, seven-on roster is an imposition on family life,” he said.
Mr McCullough said many employees were on contract work and had no long-term assurances.
“The best outcome would be for a more secure employment option,” he said.
He said the higher cost of fly-in, fly-out workers in comparison to residential workers should also be considered and factored in for companies’ profits.
A Mount Isa Mines spokesperson said employees “will have the opportunity to vote for or against the new EA” on Monday and Tuesday.
“As per standard practice every four years Mount Isa Mines works with its employees to discuss and ultimately agree on our Enterprise Agreement,” the spokesperson said.
“The EA sets out the terms and conditions of our EA workforce which accounts for about 2500 of our people.
“Since October 2014 we have been working in consultation with our employees to determine the conditions within the new EA.”
Employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity to The North West Star were divided about the EA, with some wary of job security if they did not accept the proposal.
Those on bigger wages are believed to be the employees most worried about the changes.