27 June 2023

Rio Tinto Weipa looks at major roster change for Amrun

| Matt Nicholls
Start the conversation
Rio Tinto is calling for feedback from Amrun employees and contractors about their preferred roster.

Rio Tinto is calling for feedback from Amrun employees and contractors about their preferred roster.

A WEEK-on, week-off roster is being considered for Rio Tinto Weipa’s Amrun mine as the company looks to address high employee turnover at the site.If the change were to happen, it could have a major impact on the town and employees at the Andoom mine.

Earlier this month, Rio Tinto sent an email to all employees with a link to a survey.

However, only those working at Amrun were able to respond.

“Commencing (June 12) we are inviting all Amrun-based employees and Cat 1 Contractors to advise us of their preferred roster with two choices,” wrote general manager Shona Markham.

The choices were to keep the current 4/5/5 “lifestyle” roster or change to a week-on, week-off roster.

Voting closes this Friday.

In a statement to Cape York Weekly, Ms Markham said that while Rio Tinto was looking at different roster options, no decision had been made.

“Following comments in our recent People Survey from Amrun employees requesting a roster change, we are currently seeking to understand whether this is a change the majority of our team would like,” she said.

“Once we receive their feedback, we will engage further both internally and with the broader community before any change is made.

“Through the current process, we have encouraged employees based in northern operations to raise any concerns with their direct leaders.”

Several Rio Tinto employees have reached out to criticise the proposed change in roster.

Those working at Andoom have already changed their roster to accommodate the Amrun site, and it appears that Rio Tinto won’t shift Andoom to a week-on, week-off roster if the southern site changes.

“There has been a lack of consultation in the workplace, with only 18 days’ notice given to employees to provide feedback, and only employees and contractors of Amrun are allowed to have a say,” one said.

“There are many employees that have other family members who work in northern operations who will no longer share the same days off and this will have a detrimental impact on the social fabric of maintaining strong families and strong communities in which Weipa prides itself on.

“It is also unclear what determines a ‘majority’.

“It should be supported by an overwhelming majority and would need to be supported across the entire Weipa operations due to the nature of the impact on both north and south.”

READ ALSO Rio Tinto’s housing plan gives Weipa’s future a big tick

Another employee called for the return of the four-on, four-off roster for all sites.

“If the lifestyle roster has proven to be ineffective then I would prefer it return to what it was,” they said.

Another blamed the culture at Amrun, not the roster, for the high turnover in staff, as well as the lack of affordable housing in Weipa, driving people away.

“The poor leadership and toxic culture at Amrun is not going to be resolved with a roster change,” they said.

“A roster won’t fix the issues. It’s the terrible leadership and bullying and racism and discrimination that’s going on that is the major problem.

“Rio Tinto should have also invested in more development and growth in housing when they decided to expand the business to Amrun.

“They are looking for an easy solution to their lack of housing strategy and this will have a detrimental impact on the social performance and capacity of the Weipa community by providing a roster that encourages employees and contractors to live outside of Weipa.

“The community is going to be negatively effected and no feasibility studies have been shared with the community on this proposed change.”

Start the conversation

Cape York Weekly

Subscribe to get the latest edition of Cape York Weekly in your inbox each Monday.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Cape York Weekly's terms and conditions and privacy policy.