Every mining operation has a roster and every roster has a story.
To better understand today’s mining rosters, it is useful to understand where we came from.
Mining rosters have come a long way in Australia…It was only a little more than 25 years ago that mining rosters:
- used only 8-hour shift lengths,
- were predominately residential based operations (not long-distance commute),
- had a 9-hour limit on shift length imposed by the United Mineworkers Federation of Australia (pre CFMEU and CFMMEU), and
- Western Australia did not allow work on Sundays
Since that time, the industry has grown, and we have had a significant migration to 12- hour shift lengths for mining rosters. This change has been motivated primarily by employee interests (not business interests).
In the early 1990s, managers did not mind what 12-hour shift pattern was worked for their operation. Today, there is enough experience with 12-hour shift rosters that most managers realise that the roster pattern can make a difference in work continuity, accountability and other business performance for their operations.
Optimal rosters for mining must have the capability to satisfy business, employee and health/safety needs for a work area or site (not just one aspect).