Contractors get it tough in mining.
We often see permanents laid off and then shortly after
the contractor brings in their crew. It really is a double-
edged sword that causes pain for workers on both sides.
But what about the guy who works for the contracting
I have a friend (who will remain nameless for obvious reasons) that busted his
ass to get a start in the mining industry when it was booming, he did his own
training, applied for job after job and finally got a start. As a contractor.
He loved the job, worked hard, and a promising talk with mine management
indicated he would come on board as a permanent. His wife fell pregnant, he
started renovating the house for the new baby and life was good. And then
the price of coal dropped and he was out. No notice, no payouts and no
So it was back to truck driving to pay the bills.
But like many other miners, he discovered a real passion
for the job, learning how to operate the equipment, the
challenges, the hard work and the comradery with his
He kept chasing a way back in and finally last year he got a job back with his
previous employer. He now works whatever roster he can get, never refuses a
shift, has never taken a day off sick and is constantly working towards finally
getting job security for his family.
This is the other side of the coin, this is the real person behind the contractor.
Without a doubt there are contractors that are no good, it’s the same in all
industries, but that is not a reflection of the job but of the person. I’m sure
you’ve all had a permanent co-worker that made you wonder how they
managed to keep their position.
There are many factors as to why our industry employs contractors; market
conditions, mine management, job specifications, labour demand. What is the
perfect balance between contractors and permanents? @ The Coalface isn’t
qualified enough to take a stab at the answer.
We just ask you to think before you slag off the contractor for taking jobs.
Think about the person, who’s working just as hard as you to support their
family, but without the conditions you receive. And think about what you would
do in their place.