NEWS

1 August 2017

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UNION EXERCISES STRENGTH FOR MEMBERS

In late May, a Truck at Paraburdoo lost propulsion and rolled back onto a windrow. Members expressed their concerns to the WMWA on an apparent inadequate braking system and what the members consider was an unsatisfactory explanation on the issue, from management. Concerned members require greater certainty on the safe operation of the truck, vehicle maintenance systems and how the incident was managed overall. 

Through the use of the relevant legislation, the Union requested documentation and evidence and conducted interviews investigating the incident, closely. The Union was provided evidence that the brakes were not lost and did investigate further to determine if the incident should have been reported as per the Mines and Safety Act. After speaking with the DMP it was determined not to be a reportable incident. The presence of the Union on site to investigate these matters does establish a firm understanding amongst the workplace that Rio will be held to account at every opportunity. 

If you come across a situation where you feel unsafe get in touch with the Union, who are here to help.

WORKPAC & SUPERANNUATION 

Most of us are fully aware that Rio has moved to Workpac as the sole supplier for casual and temporary labour. Members from Australian unions have many issues with this type of employment when it is being used to replace full time positions, none of these are ‘easy’ fixes. It reinforces the fact that the workers on the whole need to get collectively organised to overcome the cutting of wages and conditions and insecure employment.

WMWA members employed by Workpac are telling us that they have experienced a significant drop in their employer contributions to their personal superannuation account. It is appears that Workpac is relying on the shortcomings in the superannuation legislation to minimise the contributions for their workers to just 38 hours a week, regardless of your compulsory total rostered hours.  The WMWA encourages all contractors to join the Union.  Only through the strength of numbers can we effectively challenge the employer and make improvements to the terms and conditions of employment.

SAFETY MEETINGS

Safety we hear comes before production. The reality, is that this is not always the case. Members have raised concerns at various sites that their safety meetings are not run with ample time, specifically meetings are being held on a fly out day before a flight, meaning that people are generally in a rush to get home. Members have also reported that safety meetings are run by supervisors themselves. In those cases, workers do not feel completely free to raise safety matters for fear of being branded the ‘trouble maker’.

Rio’s own policy and the Mines and Safety Legislation stipulate that workers should be able to freely raise safety concerns and that safety meetings are to be run in a manner that will lead to concerns being raised, addressed and eventually resolved so that hazards are reduced and injuries are prevented which is not only a clear benefit to the worker’s personal health, earning capacity and quality of life but a huge benefit to Rio through productivity and reduction in costs.

If you have a safety meeting that you feel is not running above board, get in touch with your Union and we will work together to ensure the safety meetings are held in a way where your safety concerns get heard.

For any questions, comments or to join:

Andrew Smith

Pilbara Alliance Organiser

Mob: 0417 006 100 Email: Andrew.smith@wmwa.org.au

 

Jeff Carig

Pilbara Alliance Organiser

Mob: 0417 667 282 Email: jeff.carig@wmwa.org.au

 

 

14 June 2017

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WMWA LEADERSHIP GROUP PILBARRA VISIT

 In late May the National and State leadership groups of the Unions making up the WMWA (AWU & CFMEU M&E) visited the Pilbara. Well-attended meetings were held in both Tom Price and Paraburdoo.

Members had a chance to ask questions and chat with the leadership group who reconfirmed their commitment to the WMWA.

If any members who were unable to attend these meetings would like to learn more, please get in touch with your Organiser. 

BROCKMAN 4 BREAK TIMES

If you are working a shift of 12 hours or more, breaks are essential to managing fatigue. Last year a WMWA member at Brockman 4 reported that workers were having breaks cut.

The union was able to step in, and now workers are receiving their full 60 minute break.  

Unfortunately there was no avenue to pursue the matter as an underpayment.

Rio Tinto declined the WMWA Member suggestion that the company should calculate a dollar amount for time overworked at Brockman 4 (for the past 6 years) and donate the equivalent to the Flying Doctor Service.

Nevertheless, this is a great win for WMWA members. 

REDUNDANT WHILST ON LEAVE

A member has asked that we share his story, about getting made redundant by Rio while he was taking leave.

A WMWA was overseas on leave when he heard from friends that Rio was making his team redundant, because they wanted to contract out work.

The member contacted HR for confirmation and was told he was being made redundant, and he could not come back on site to collect his tools and trad certificates.  

He was assured that his effects would be sent to him, but he didn’t receive them for an entire month. This meant that the member couldn’t start working and earning money.

Unfortunately, a legal defence against incompetence was not an option. WMWA did represent the issues to management.

Eventually the member received all his tools and needed certificates, but not without loss of income and reputation.

MEMBERS ARE THE UNION!

A Union is only as strong as its members and engaged, active members make for a strong Union! Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome. 

Due to the vast distances between sites in the Pilbara it is through our members we learn of issues and leads to recruit new members.

Organisers are always happy to have a chat, so pick up the phone and give us a call, the information you have could make a big difference!

 

28 April 2017

IT PAYS TO BE UNION
 
STAND DOWN DURING INVESTIGATION
Members are often stood down during an investigation of incidents or accidents. This is Rio’s process when a serious or potentially serious incident occurs in the workplace.   It must be recognised this may cause the stood down worker a lot of stress and anxiety.
 
When or if you have an incident that could be investigated, speak to your Union as early as possible and seek advice, support and representation.
 
WORKING AT HEIGHTS REMINDER
Working At Height is any task where there is a potential to cause harm as a result of people falling from one level to another. The work must be risk assessed and working with heights systems used appropriately.  If there is potential to fall more than 1.8 metres or if working within 2 metres of an Open Edge, Working At Height systems (e.g. fall prevention or fall arrest) must be used.

REDUNDANCY & ROSTER CHANGES
Redundancies and roster changes continue to occur across most sites as Rio’s “restructure” rolls on.
Whilst we aren’t seeing the sweeping redundancies of 2-3 years ago they are still occurring as departments are cut further and further placing increased pressure on those left to do the job.

WMWA members facing redundancy have the full support and assistance of the Union as we work to secure redeployment for those wishing to continue working with Rio, or make sure redundancy payments are correct for those leaving.

It really doesn’t cost to be in the Union…it pays.
 
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
As the old saying goes knowledge is power, and thankfully with the internet schooling yourself on topics such as workplace Health and Safety and Legislation has never been easier!
The Department of Mines (DMP) has a Haul Truck load of resources on its website which can be found at the link below. The DMP can be contacted by anyone at anytime, all calls are confidential and callers can remain anonymous if they wish. All Rio Tinto Iron Ore sites are located in the DMP’s North Inspectorate.

DMP Website             DMP Contacts
 
CRANES & TRANSPORT BARGAINING
Bargaining discussions continue with Rio for the Cranes and Transport Operators Enterprise Agreement.
Most recently both parties met at the Fair Work Commission in Perth in an attempt to keep the process moving forward.
For details of this meeting and all previous meetings click on the link below.

Cranes Ops Bargaining
   

13 March 2017

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NO SHORTCUTS WITH SAFETY

Isolation procedures are a critical safety measure designed to protect workers from harm when working on or around equipment and plant. 

There have been concerning reports from multiple sites lately that despite the known risks involved workers are still being asked to take shortcuts when it comes to isolating equipment. It seems that most of these incidents are occurring on night shifts and weekends when there is less management around on site.

Given the tragic events that occurred at Paraburdoo last year it is worrying to say the least that workers are still being asked to take shortcuts when it comes to safety.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to safety, if it’s not safe don’t do it!

If you are asked to undertake an unsafe task let that person know you are not comfortable doing it that way, don’t put yourself or others at risk.

If you have concerns about safety on your site contact a WMWA Organiser to discuss.

 

WMWA NATIONAL EXECUTIVE TO VISIT THE PILBARA

The National Executive of the WMWA (AWU & CFMEU) will be visiting the Pilbara to meet with members and supporters in the not too distant future.

The visit will include the towns of Tom Price and Paraburdoo where members will have the opportunity to discuss the future plans of the WMWA and any other questions they may have.

Correspondence outlining meeting dates and times will be sent out shortly to all members.

 

IMPERFECTLY IVMS

The ‘In Vehicle Management System’ IVMS that Rio Tinto use is a product provided by a mob called ‘Intellifleet’. Apparently when the system was first introduced it was said that it would be used for ‘real time’ management, that is if you are speeding or aren’t wearing a seat belt an alarm goes off and you think about what you’ve done and adjust.

However, an IVMS Update & Clarification document stated that along with ‘real time’ management, breaches of road rules will result in investigations and may lead to termination. 

Alliance members have been represented in cases where they have been investigated unjustly. In short, the IVMS is imperfect. In some cases workers are being investigated for breaches but have not even been in the vehicle!

It is a bit of a no brainer. It is not fair to investigate people for breaches using an imperfect system. In the current Rio working environment any investigation on record is a serious matter. One or two more investigations and you can easily be facing termination. 

If it is not a ‘fair go’, what can we do about it?

If you or someone you know is or has been investigated for a breach of road rules due to IVMS and, it appears to be a system fault, get the worker to contact Alliance Organisers. We are building a log of these cases to push back on unfair treatment of workers.

 

Why join the Alliance?

In short, we are hell of a lot cheaper than industrial lawyers and have access to years of industrial experience. If you have a workplace issue and need advice, we are a call away. $15 a week is not much, and after tax even less. Industrial Lawyers start from $500 an hour! It pays to be in the Union!


 

3 February 2017

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Western Turner Water Woes 

Frustratingly workers at Western Turner found themselves once again without adequate supplies of drinking water over the X-Mas and New Year period.

Workers initially raised concerns around the supply of drinking water before Christmas when the supply of drinking water became heavily chlorinated.

The response from management was disappointing; in some cases workers were told to bring water with them from home!

Workers had raised the issue several times through the correct channels including – HSR’s, safety meetings and management, unfortunately the problem was not addressed and workers were left with little choice but to raise the issue directly to the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP).

Since raising the issue with the DMP workers have reported back to the Union that the water supply issue seems to have been resolved for now.

The Union believes that Health and Safety issues are best dealt with at a local level wherever possible however, when repeated attempts to address issues are ignored workers have the right to raise their concerns directly with the DMP.

 

Para members get active 

Over the past year Paraburdoo members have been talking about establishing a WMWA committee at Paraburdoo.

In December members were given the chance to vote on the committee, with 7 members forming the new site committee.

We are confident that these members will do a great job in giving all Paraburdoo members a real say in the unions priorities – and work to make Paraburdoo a better place to work for everyone.

Over the next few weeks the committee will get together to discuss what members at Para really want, and how we can best achieve these things. 

 

New Organiser Joins the WMWA Team

Jeff Carig has joined the WMWA team this year. Jeff will be working with Andrew to look after members who work across the Pilbara. Jeff is new to the mining industry but is a very experienced organiser who will add to the wealth of experience in the team. 

Jeff will be spending the next few weeks out and about talking with workers at most sites. If you see Jeff around make sure you say g’day.

 

Introducing Jeff Carig

G’day all, have been in the Union movement for close to a decade now, quite young and committed to the Pilbara and the movement. I believe in standing up for what’s right both in the workplace and in society, and I know the workplace is where it begins. The plan for me over the next few months is to make some friends, build on those relationships and get the lay of the land as well as the legislation, rules, regulations and custom and practice of the workplace in my head so as to work closely with members and activists to build strength for the purpose of securing employment, keeping Rio honest and improve conditions over the coming years. Hope to meet you soon.

You can contact Jeff on 0417 667282 or at jeff.carig@wmwa.org.au

 


 

15 November 2016

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White Ribbon Day – get involved

Friday the 25th of November marks White Ribbon Day. White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end men’s violence against women and girls, promote gender equality, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity. This year alone 60 women have been killed by domestic violence, a shocking statistic in anyone’s book, and one that must change.

The union encourages all members to take a stand and get involved on the day.

Events to mark the day are being held in all capital cities and regional centres. For more information about White Ribbon or to find an event near you visit the White Ribbon website at http://www.whiteribbon.org.au

 

Proposed changes to operating in lightning practices

Over the past month members at many sites have been told that Rio is changing its current operating in lightning practices to allow for the continued operations during red alerts. Members and safety reps are concerned about the increased risk this will pose to operators using heavy mining equipment.

The Union has raised these concerns directly with Rio through correspondence. We encourage members to speak their safety reps about their concerns. We also encourage and support safety reps to resolve safety issues through the process outlined in the WA Mines Safety Inspection Act 1994 (part 6). 

 

Quality of Camp Services

The recent shift to Sodexo for supply of camp services has not gone as smoothly as hoped. Numerous reports are coming in from all sites around a drop in standards particularly food available for crib.

We encourage all members who are dissatisfied with the level of quality being provided to fill in the feedback forms available. Copies of these forms can also be sent to Organisers who will be gathering information about the level of services currently provided. Organisers details can be found below.

 

Union fights for a fair deal for stranded FIFO workers

As many members are already aware there was an Aircraft incident at Paraburdoo airport in the morning of Wednesday the 5th of October. This meant that flights from the Paraburdoo airport had to be cancelled and rescheduled. FIFO workers departing from Tom Price, Paraburdoo and Marandoo were unable to catch their usual scheduled flights until much later that day or the next day. 

This meant that these workers effectively lost a day of their “RnR” which meant missing time with their families and in some cases missing appointments that were unable to be rescheduled.

Many workers have asked local management what steps Rio plans to put in place to makeup for this lost time but are yet to receive any clarity from management. Last week the Union asked Rio management to provide clarity as to how the company proposes to, fairly make up this lost time for workers. We like Rio’s workers are yet to receive any response with specific details about this matter.

FIFO employees work long and hard shifts to ensure they can spend time at home with their families. Rio management’s apparent lack of commitment to address this matter of basic fairness is not respectful or fair for their FIFO workforce and families.

The WMWA intends to pursue this matter with senior management next week and if necessary through the appropriate authority to ensure that impacted members are treated fairly.

If you were impacted by the delayed flights on 4 October please contact your local organiser so we can provide you specific advice and support.

 

WMWA speaking up for members on things that matter to them

 

Movember 

Men are notoriously reluctant to discuss health issues, even a quick check-up with their GP can be pushed back months if not years.

Movember aims to change this and prevent men from dying too young.

Every year millions of mustaches (some dodgy as) are grown in support of raising awareness of men’s health issues.

 Once again this year a long time member of the Union, Nigel Gould from Yandicoogina is doing his part and letting that Mo Grow!

To find out more about Movember and show you support to Nigel in his worthy cause visit the website at https://au.movember.com/mospace/6831145

 For more information on these stories or to contact your local organisers email

Andrew - andrew.smith.wmwa.org.au or Shane - shane.roulsone@wmwa.org.au


 

11 October 2016

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SAFETY ROADSHOWS

The Department of mines & Petroleum (DMP) are conducting their annual safety roadshows over the next 2 months. The seminars are designed for safety representatives and interested employees. 

The sessions are free and always informative. Registrations on the days start at 0700 for a 0800 start. The sessions are fairly relaxed and are finished by 2pm with refreshments provided. 

This year they will be focusing on prevention from getting caught, trapped or crushed. Apart form learning about mining safety from the experts, you will also have the chance to chat with other safety focused mining industry employees as well as the DMP mines inspectors. 

If you are off swing you don't need to ask your employer to attend.

If you are on swing and at site near where a session is being conducted we suggest that you ask your management to release you on paid time to attend.

If you want more details about the seminars, enroll online here. Spots can book out fairly quickly so get in early. 

Some upcoming dates that may interest members are 

  • 13 Oct in Tom Price
  • 25 Oct in Bunbury
  • 1 Nov in  Geraldton
  • 4 Nov in Perth

For more information go to the DMP website here.

 

LEAVE & YOUR RIGHTS

Recently there has been an increase of enquiries from members about their rights to leave. 

Workers rights to leave are covered by the Fair Work Act and state legislation. Company policy can improve on these but not make workers worse off. 

If you are not sure about your rights or feel that you may have been denied access to a type of leave, contact your local Organiser to discuss.

Remember knowledge is power!

 

WMWA MERCHANDISE 

Merchandise can now be ordered via our website.

All WMWA shirts are made right here in Australia from high quality durable material.

To place an order, follow the directions at this link

 

1 September 2016

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RU OK? REALLY?

Living and working in the Pilbara is tough, it takes a special resolve to handle the remoteness, weather and harsh environment. These factors, coupled with long working hours and rosters, mean even the most positive of us can feel the bite of the Black Dog at times.

RU OK? Day is a day designed for us to ask this question to our family, friends and workmates.

Are you ok? Sometimes a simple question and a listening ear is all it takes for a person to realise they are not alone and do not have to suffer in silence. For more information on RU OK? Day, visit the RU OK website here

We know that suicide prevention is an enormously complex and sensitive challenge the world over. But we also know that some of the world’s smartest people have been working tirelessly and developed credible theories that suggest there’s power in that simplest of questions - “Are you ok?”

 

RIO ANNOUNCES HIRING FREEZE

As most members are already aware Rio recently introduced a hiring freeze on full time employees and will now fill most vacancies’ with contractors.

This announcement has caused great concern to existing employees with serious questions being asked about Rio’s commitment to its current workforce and the Pilbara communities it operates from. 

Your Union met with Rio Tinto senior management in August and raised members concerns about the decision. We made it very clear that our members across Rio did not welcome the decision. We explained the members believed the decision would drive down employee’s wages and conditions across the industry.

We also expressed members deep concerns about the impact of contract employment on safety standards across the Iron Ore Division.

We explained that the historical evidence is clear around contractors being less likely to raise safety concerns, making Rios Pilbara worksites less safe at a time when Rio should be looking to improve its safety. We understand that Rio will review the hiring freeze in 12 months time.

As Rio seeks to increase its contract workforce there has never been a more important time for members take the lead on safety in their workplace.

In the current environment it is vital that members Stand up, Speak Up and Back up your workmates about safety concerns at work. If you have unresolved safety concerns or do not feel comfortable raising your concerns with management you can speak to your health and safety rep or Union organiser.

Your safety is in your hands - workers in the Pilbara can raise serious safety concerns anonymously by contacting the department of mines and petroleum on (08) 9358 8010 or by emailing them north.inspectorate@dmp.wa.gov.au.

WMWA - providing a strong voice on the things that matter to you.

 

RIOs PERIODIC MEDICALS & YOUR RIGHTS

WMWA members have many concerns about Rio's periodic medical assessments. These concerns centre on the privacy of personal medical information and members job security. Some members are concerned that Rio may use these periodic medicals as a way to shed parts of its workforce.

To find out about your rights regarding Rio’s medicals go to our advice bulletin.

 

WORKPLACE RIGHTS  – LUNCH & LEARN SESSION, THURSDAY 22 SEP in the Perth CBD 

Due to member demand the WMWA is planning to conduct a lunch and learn meeting for members in Perth on Thursday the 22nd of September 2016. The session will cover things like your rights at work and the WA safety laws.

The session is informal and will take around 2 hours. It is designed to provide you practical information to help you make your workplace fairer and safer.  So we can organise catering please rsvp if you wish to attend by emailing shane.roulstone@wmwa.org.au

 

WANT MORE INFO ABOUT THESE STORIES OR THE UNION? –

GO TO THE WMWA FACEBOOK PAGE OR CONTACT YOUR LOCAL WMWA ORGANISER

 

Shane Roulstone

Pilbara Alliance Organiser

Mob: 0417 667 282 Email: shane.roulstone@wmwa.org.au 

 

Andrew Smith

Pilbara Alliance Organiser

Mob: 0417 006 100 Email: andrew.smith@wmwa.org.au

 

 

8 July 2016

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STAND UP - SPEAK OUT - BACK UP – COME BACK HOME

Friend,

Last months tragedy at Paraburdoo has been deeply felt by all Rio workers, especially so for those at Paraburdoo. All members extend their sincere condolences to Lee’s family. This tragic loss of life is a somber reminder of the significant risks mining workers and their families face every day.

When you are at work please take the time to think of your safety, your family and friends before you start any job. 

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) and the WA coroner are conducting investigations into Lee’s death. These investigations will take some time to complete. 

Since the incident the Union has had a number of detailed discussions with DMP and Rio management about the incident and our members safety concerns. We have formally raised members ongoing safety concerns with DMP and the mining industry advisory committee through correspondence.

Over the past few months the WMWA has been highlighting the increasing number of safety concerns with management and members.

We have been encouraging union members to take the lead on safety in their workplace. In the current environment it is vital that members Stand up, Speak Up and Back up your workmates about safety concerns at work.

If you have unresolved safety concerns or do not feel comfortable raising your concerns with management you can speak to your health and safety rep or Union organiser.

Your safety is in your hands - workers in the mining can raise serious safety concerns anonymously by contacting the department of mines and petroleum on (08) 9358 8010 or by emailing them north.inspectorate@dmp.wa.gov.au

Safety is and always will be Union business. The Union offers practical advice and onsite support to safety reps and members who have safety concerns.

Camera Surveillance of Rio sites 

Recently workers at Western Turner came to the Union with concerns that CCTV cameras had been installed at part of the site without their knowledge.

It was only when supervisors made comments about watching people and the new cameras ability to “zoom right in” that those workers became aware they were being watched.

This was a concern on many levels not least privacy, anyone who has worked in a remote area of a mine site knows that toilet facilities are few and far between.

After Union Organisers raised concerns with management about the cameras and lack of signage a banner was put out to staff informing them of the cameras location. 

WMWA Member Wins Settlement

Recently long term WMWA member and family man was able to walk away with fair compensation for his dismissal from Rio. 

Although the process was at times difficult and drawn out Ryan kept his resolve and with assistance from the Unions legal team was able to get a result he deserved after a decade of service to the company.

The member said “If I didn’t have the Union there to back me up at times I probably would have just walked away from it to be honest, to have someone there to give you advice and support makes all the difference. Whilst it wasn’t a good experience I’m happy with the outcome and thankful for what the Union did for me.”

The Unions legal team is committed to ensuring members receive a fair deal.

Workplace rights training - Monday 18 July in Perth

Due to member demand the WMWA will be conducting a half-day training sessions for members in Perth on Monday 18 July in the afternoon. The session will cover things like your rights at work and the WA safety laws.

The session will take around 4 hours and provide you practical information to help you make your workplace fairer and safer.  If you wish to attend please email Andrew -  andrew.smith@wmwa.org.au 

WANT MORE INFO ABOUT THESE STORIES OR THE UNION? 

CONTACT YOUR LOCAL WMWA ORGANISER

Shane Roulstone - Mob: 0417 667 282

Email: Shane.roulstone@wmwa.org.au 

 

Andrew Smith - Mob: 0417 006 100

Email: Andrew.smith@wmwa.org.au

 

 

17 July 2016

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WMWA Member Receives Support with Bullying Complaint

Paul a young WMWA member and tradesmen with Rio Tinto came to the Union for support and assistance with a workplace bullying issue he was going through. Being a young worker Paul had found it difficult to raise the issue at work or speak about it outside of the workplace, unfortunately this meant he had suffered alone before coming to his Union for assistance.

Paul and his Organiser sat down together to discuss what had been happening at work and put together a timeframe of the bullying he had been subject to. Together they worked on a formal letter of complaint, which Paul then lodged under Rio’s Anti Harassment and Bullying Policy.

After Management and HR conducted an investigation into the complaint the bully was removed from the workplace and Paul was able to return to his job without the constant worry and stress that had previously made his time at work unpleasant to say the least. Paul said: 

“No one should have to go through what I did at work or outside of it. I was lucky as a member of the Union I was able to get the advice and support I required to resolve the issue. I urge anyone going through what I did to speak up and join your Union, they are there to help you get through your problems.”

If you or anyone you know is being bullied you don’t need to suffer alone. Call your Union Organiser for assistance and support.

 

WMWA Out and About

WMWA Organisers have been all over the inland Pilbara recently visiting members and interested workers at Hope Downs 1 & 4, West Angelas, Yandicoogina, The Brockman’s, Paraburdoo and Tom Price.

Organisers have also conducted safety inspections at Hope Downs 4, Brockman and Yandicoogina after recent incidences where it was lucky no one was seriously hurt or worse.

We plan to be in Pannawonica visiting Mesa A & J this month before continuing our rounds again! 

If you would like the WMWA to visit your site on a specific day and date get in touch with an Organiser and let them know.

 

STAND UP - SPEAK OUT  - BACK UP – COME BACK HOME 

Over the past month the Union has received a significant increase in the number of safety related issues across all sites. As cost pressures are applied across the business many workers feel pressured to cut corners to meet targets.

Safety research clearly shows that as the number of minor safety incidents increase so does the likelihood of serious and fatal incidents.

It’s at these times that it’s really important that union members take the lead and Stand up and Speak Up about safety concerns at work. It’s equalling important that members back each other on safety issues.

The WMWA offers practical advice and onsite support to safety reps and members who have safety concerns. So far in June we have conducted 3 site safety inspections after members raised concerns with us. We have also raised members safety concerns directly with registered managers at 5 sites.

The Union regularly refers unresolved safety matters directly with the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

Safety is and always will be Union business. If you have a safety issue at work raise it with your supervisor and safety rep. If you’re not satisfied with the response get the facts together and contact your local organiser for advice.

 

Workplace rights training - Monday 18 July in Perth

Due to member demand the WMWA will be conducting a half-day training sessions for members in Perth on Monday 18 July in the afternoon. The session will cover things like your rights at work and the WA safety laws.

The session will take around 4 hours and provide you practical information to help you make your workplace fairer and safer.  If you wish to attend please email Andrew -  andrew.smith@wmwa.org.au

 

National FIFO scheme – good outcome 

After a number of meetings and discussions with Rio management we are pleased to inform members that NFIFO employees will have no significant adverse changes to there current arrangements.

The WMWA provides a strong and independent voice for members on thee issues that matter to them.

 

WMWA membership fee increase 

Most members should have received your letter regarding a fee increase or want more info please contact your local organiser.

 


27 April 2016
  

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Redundancies and redeployments

As members are aware 170 roles are being or have been cut from Rio’s Pilbara operations - 80 operators / 70 maintainers / 20 coordinators. There will also be some roster changes, which will occur. 

The WMWA has met with senior management on a number of occasions to discuss the details and ways to mitigate the number of redundancies, as well as reducing the adverse impacts on affected workers. 

Your Union has been directly supporting 26 members through this process. We have been able to assist most members who wished to remain with the business to do so. We will continue to assist and provide individual members sensible professional advice on members lawful options.

 

Cranes Operators seek to negotiate a collective agreement

Last year Rio Tinto made a number of changes to company policy that adversely impacted the take home pay and conditions of our members in Cranes & Transport. Rightfully members were unhappy with the changes and the lack of genuine consultation from the company.

After discussions with our members the WMWA wrote to the business and raised these concerns in detail.

Members decided they wanted a fair go with more security around their pay and employment conditions. The majority of Crane Operators are in support of the Union entering into bargaining with Rio to negotiate a collective agreement for crane operators in the Pilbara. 

Last week the WMWA wrote to Rio management seeking formal discussions around bargaining for a Crane Operator’s agreement. This is a significant step for all Rio workers in the Pilbara.

Over the next few weeks the WMWA will undertake the necessary discussions and actions required to commence bargaining with Rio. It is expected this is likely to involve some legal proceedings. Members understand this process will take some time to work through.

There will be several meetings organised with members to provide updates on the bargaining process, details of these meetings will be provided directly to members. If you have any questions please contact your local organiser directly.

 

National FIFO scheme review – announcement imminent

Members who are part of the National FIFO scheme (Interstate FIFO) will be aware that Rio has been reviewing the scheme over the last 6 months. Reports are coming in from members who have been verbally informed by their managers that the scheme is about to cease. 

Whilst there are many rumors about the outcome of the review no formal announcement has been made as yet.

The WMWA has meet with senior management to raise members concerns about any possible changes and will continue do so. We have advised Rio that the Union will do what ever is required to ensure that our member’s lawful rights are protected. 

Members who are on the scheme should ensure they have a copy of their employment contract available. If you don’t have a copy contact HR - 1300 667703 and ask for a copy to be emailed to you ASAP.

If your workmates are National FIFO employees you should encourage them to join the Union before any announcement is made. This will ensure we can assist them through the process.

Joining is easy – go to www.wmwa.org.au and click on the join portal or contact your local organiser who’s details can also be found on the website.

 

No place for Bullying

Bullying is defined as repeated, unwanted and unreasonable behavior. It’s nothing new, in fact it’s probably been happening since man could talk maybe even before.

At some time in our lives we have all been bullied, been the bully or seen it happen to someone else.

It’s a hot topic amongst schools and their students, there are programs run to teach kids that it’s not ok to bully and if you see it happen report it. It’s not such a hot topic in the workplace though is it? Despite statistics showing that 1 in 3 Australian workers will experience bullying in their workplace it is still a little spoken of topic.

Bullying can be aggressive (easily seen) shouting, physically threatening more often though it is passive (teasing, humiliation, rumors and gossip) either way the effects on the victim can be extreme and long lasting. All too often bullying goes unreported as victims and witnesses do not want to make the issue bigger for themselves and have little faith the issue will be resolved if it is reported.

Bullying is an issue that should always be taken seriously, if you are being bullied at work or know someone who his please call a WMWA Organiser to discuss what is happening and the options you have available to resolve the issue. No one should suffer in silence.

Further information on bullying and support services available can be found here – http://au.reachout.com/bullying

 

May Day 2016

May Day is being celebrated on 1 May in Fremantle this year. It’s a great chance to celebrate the achievements of workers and catch up with members from other sites. For further information about this any of the news articles contact your local organiser.

 

Shane Roulstone

Pilbara Alliance Organiser

Mob: 0417 667 282 Email: shane.roulstone@wmwa.org.au 

 

Andrew Smith

Pilbara Alliance Organiser

Mob: 0417 006 100 Email: andrew.smith@wmwa.org.au

 

 

9 February 2016  

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RIO order wage freeze for employees in 2016

At the start of the year Sam Walsh (CEO - Rio Tinto) emailed employees and outlined the challenges for the business in 2016.  The email discussed the business priorities for 2016 and included details about a pay freeze for most employees in 2016. Mr Walsh’s email to employees was widely reported in the media.

Members and Rio employees understand the challenges the business faces in the current market and know 2016 will be another challenging year for the business. Whilst disappointed about the freeze members trust that this decision combined with the recent record production figures will eliminate the need for any large-scale job cuts this year. 

Members acknowledge the fact that Mr Walsh communicated the decision early, personally and directly with all employees by email. At least members won’t be subjected to months of uncertainty and rumours about their pay for 2016. 

WMWA member Frank said, “it’s easy to announce a pay freeze when you get 10 mil a year like Sam. He gets some credit for being upfront about it and applying it to management as well. Its times like these you realise the real value of having union negotiated collective agreements that lock in your pay and conditions at work. I am looking forward to when we have one of these agreements in Pilbara in the not to distant future”

 

Changes to RIO's alcohol and other drugs policy

In January Rio announced changes to their Alcohol and other drugs policy. Previously employees who tested below 0.02 were given the chance of follow up test within 30 minutes to see if they were 0.00 and fit for work.

The change sees a simplified 0.00 blood alcohol level applied across the board. If your test registers anything above 0.00 you will be considered unfit for work. You should expect in this case to be removed from the workplace and appropriate arrangements made for transportation to your home or company provided accommodation.

WMWA and AWU Secretary Stephen Price said. “Members and the Union’s want the safest possible workplaces. Workers should understand that as a result of these changes, any positive test results will place their employment in jeopardy”.  

For more information about changes to the AOD policy contact your WMWA organiser

 

A big year ahead for the WMWA

2016 is shaping up as another big year for WMWA members in the Pilbara. As membership continues to grow at all Rio sites, the Alliance has had many enquires about the member training sessions we ran in 2015 around “workplace rights and representation”.

These one-day sessions are conducted in Perth and the Pilbara. The sessions cover a wide range of things, like your industrial and safety rights at work. The current scheduled WMWA training dates for 2016 are:

* April 4th and 5th in Perth

* April 6th and 7th in the Pilbara.

* September 19th and 20th in Perth

* September 21st and 22nd in the Pilbara 

We will also be running a number of site based lunch and learn sessions for members this year. If you want more information about member training or are interested in attending these training sessions please email shane.roulstone@wmwa.org.au Courses can book out quickly so get in early.