Fly-in, fly-out female workers have revealed what it’s really like working on the job, from having their underwear stolen, to unwanted sexual advances and ‘feeling like a piece of meat’.
Perth entrepreneur Yasmin Walter, who was a ‘FIFO WAG’ for more than a decade, is set to release a book in August lifting the lid on her own experiences in Western Australia’s highly-paid mining industry, as well as the stories of more than 20 other women.
‘There’s 22 authors in the book and they all have shared different perspectives that they’ve had in that FIFO industry. Some are workers, some are the wives of workers that have gone into the industry, some have family in the industry, some have left the industry,’ Mrs Walter said, according to The West Australian.
Jess Ngo, who worked as a site physiotherapist in the mines, revealed she was working her first ever shift when all of her underwear was stolen from a washing line within 15 minutes of hanging them out.
Dutch expat Sarah Dlugosz, who worked as an underground miner, said some nights she felt so isolated she cried herself to sleep
Perth entrepreneur and model Yasmin Walter was a ‘FIFO WAG’ for more than a decade
Yasmin is set to release a book in August lifting the lid on her own experiences in Western Australia’s highly paid FIFO industry, as well of the stories of more than 20 other women
Ms Dlugosz said a man walked up to her female colleague and sniffed her, before saying ‘woman’ like a proper caveman’
Ms Ngo said she was forced to grow a thick skin during her time in the mines, and said it’s common for women to experience inappropriate remarks from male colleagues.
Ms Ngo suffered panic attacks and subsequently took a break from her job, before recently returning.
A Filipino expat who worked as a cleaner said a man – who assumed she was a sex worker – barged into her room and asked for sex.
‘In my second week, I was making a bed and there was a $50 note under the pillow,’ the woman said.
The woman, who at the time didn’t speak much English, asked her supervisor why the cash was left behind.
He responded saying the money was for a ‘jig’ – a word used instead of sex – however she misunderstood him and thought he said it was a ‘tip’.
‘Two nights later, I got a knock on my door. There was an Aussie guy, beer in hand, belly popping out of his top. He said, “I’m here to claim my prize”, I said “sorry, I no understand”,’ she said.
The woman said the man then banged his fist against the wall and demanded he pay her for sex.
The book – which comes out in August – features workers, wives of miners that have gone into the industry, and some with family in the industry
A female FIFO worker said she often felt like a ‘piece of meat surrounded by hungry lions’ while on the job
Thankfully she was able to give the man his money before another worker walked past and intervened.
The woman said she often felt like a ‘piece of meat surrounded by hungry lions’ while on the job.
She even resorted to propping a chair up against the door so no-one could come in during the night.
Dutch expat Sarah Dlugosz, who worked as an underground miner, said some nights she felt so isolated she cried herself to sleep.
‘Being a woman on the mines, it was smart to avoid communal spaces as much as possible. I remember walking into a huge bar of a two thousand and five hundred man camp and instantly drawing looks, wolf whistles and a lot of unwanted attention. I turned around and went straight back to my room,’ she said.
Ms Dlugosz said a man walked up to her female colleague and sniffed her, before saying ‘woman’ like a proper caveman.
Reports of sexual harassment and assault are already rife in the FIFO mining industry. Pictured: former FIFO WAG and author Yasmin Walter
A Filipino expat who worked as a cleaner said a man – who assumed she was a sex worker – barged into her room and asked for sex
Reports of sexual harassment and assault are already rife in the FIFO mining industry.
A 35-year-old FIFO worker from Vasse in WA’s south-west allegedly sexually assaulted the woman in her 20s at the Pilbara BHP mine in November, 2020.
The $4.64billion South Flank mine, which includes the Mulla Mulla village the woman was allegedly raped, is the mining giant’s most diverse production with women making up 40 per cent of the workforce.
BHP in a statement said they were helping with investigations and that ‘sexual assault or harassment is unacceptable at BHP, full stop’.
‘We are absolutely clear on this, and all employees, contractors and those that come to our sites are made aware of their obligation to support a safe and respectful workplace.’