Involuntary Long Hours in Mining

Published 2010

Publication Type: Conference Publications

Author(s): Peetz, David Robert; Murray, Georgina

Long hours worked in the mining industry might reflect employee preferences. We analyse quantitative and qualitative data from the mining industry, and relevant literature, and find that employee preferences are for substantially shorter hours than are actually worked. This links to ‘interference’ of work in life, including through lost family time, fatigue, interference with community and sporting activities and, it appears, high labour turnover. Involuntary long hours in mining are related to 24-hour operations and twelve hour shifts and worsened where employees lack input into the design of rosters. The findings suggest that, in order to promote ‘good job’ in the mining industry, there is both a need to revisit protections for employees against being forced to work ‘unreasonable’ hours above the ostensible national standard of 38 hours per week and strong support even amongst mineworkers for a ceiling on hours worked per week.

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