Families Learn to Not All It's Cracked Up to Be Plan for FIFO Success; Janine Hill Talks with Couples Finding Their Way through FIFO Minefield

Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia), April 5, 2014 | Go to article overview

Families Learn to Not All It's Cracked Up to Be Plan for FIFO Success; Janine Hill Talks with Couples Finding Their Way through FIFO Minefield


FIFO workers have it easy.

So started an email doing the rounds of fly-in, fly-out workers this week.

The email is written from the point of view of a FIFO worker who overhears a couple of "suits" talking about how great the FIFO lifestyle must be, having a week off every couple of weeks.

The FIFO worker goes on to calculate that a FIFO employee working 12 hours a day, two weeks on, one week off, works the equivalent of 65.1 weeks a year, compared with 50 weeks for a nine to five worker who gets a fortnight's annual holiday.

"Next time Mr Suit sees me in the lounge in my t-shirt and jeans, my bloodshot eyes and my jet-lagged, just-came-off-nightshift headache from hell, he might just think how lucky he is not to be a poor, sorry-assed FIFO worker," the email concludes.

The growth of the FIFO workforce in the last few years has created a degree of division within the community.

They are perceived by many to be well-paid and on easy street, and blamed for pushing up housing costs.

The FIFO workers say it is anything but easy and they are not necessarily better off.

Some say they have no option if they want a job that will pay the bills and they would prefer to be at home with their families if they could get a decent job.

Figures on FIFO vary but there could be up to 60,000 people in Australia working on a fly-in fly-out or drive-in drive-out basis.

Nicole Ashby, of FIFO Families, a family support network, said about 50% of FIFO workers were married with children and 70% were in long-term relationships. …

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