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Handwritten note exposes bleak reality for FIFO workers

Isabella was confused how the coworker managed to find her room.

Isabella reading a note and her at a restaurant
Isabella has only been a FIFO worker for a few weeks and she's already been targeted by a male colleague. (Source: TikTok/Instagram)

A fly-in fly-out (FIFO) worker has revealed the note she was given by a male colleague and it highlights an ongoing issue in male-dominated industries. Isabella has only been doing FIFO for a few weeks and she's already been made to feel uncomfortable by a co-worker.

The colleague managed to find her room and slipped a note under her door. She's decided to leak what was written and admitted she was "not prepared for this" when signing up to FIFO.

"If you want a free vape in exchange for a little something, let me know," the note read.

The note was addressed to the "new girl" and Isabella asked how he managed to get her room number and "why you write like a f**king child" in a dig against his handwriting.

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"If this is the FIFO lifestyle, I don't know if I want it," she said to the camera.

Do you have a story about working in the FIFO industry? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

Other female FIFO workers commented on Isabella's video saying this happens far too often.

"Yup! I know all about those! Exchange for a little something something hahaha! Part of FIFO life," said one woman.

"Girl I’ve had this happen to me 3 times in 3 years of working FIFO. Wait till you start finding random boxers in YOUR washing machine from people tryna send a message," wrote another.

"If you're at the camp I think you're at, I've had so many creepy things happen to me there as well," added a third.

Many called on Isabella to report the man to the mine site's HR department to ensure he didn't contact her again like this.

When she revealed on social media she had received her first FIFO job, a person commented saying she was "going to make a lot of miners very happy". Isabella clapped back at the suggestion and insinuated that was inappropriate.

Jordan Wilson has been working as a drill fitter in WA and he explained to Yahoo Finance that mine sites across the state have had issues dealing with unruly blokes.

He said before alcohol limits were imposed back in 2022, "a lot of people would get very drunk and start causing problems".

"Whether it's having their music playing all night, or parties or getting into fights, or causing damage...that used to happen a lot on every mine site," he said.

Wilson added that sexual harassment also used to be a big problem because "there's a very small contingent of females to a very large contingent of males".

"That dynamic is not great," he told Yahoo Finance. "I think men being men and women being women."

A survey of miners found one-third knew someone who drank so much onsite that they couldn’t perform their duties. Additionally, more than 44 per cent said alcohol consumption and the culture around it had been problematic or even dangerous.

But the drill fitter said a lot of those problems slowly went away when Western Australia’s Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) introduced new guidelines that only allowed FIFO workers a maximum of four standard alcoholic drinks in a 24-hour period.

Those changes weren't popular, with 38 per cent of people surveyed opposing the guidelines. More than 21 per cent said it was unfair to restrict alcohol on mine sites.

Western Australia, where a lot of FIFO work is done, conducted an inquiry into sexual harassment of women in the mining industry. When the results were handed down, Madeleine King, WA minister for resources, said it made for "shocking reading".

Out of the 302,600 people who were working in the state's mining sector as of 2022, there was a record high of 52,500 women among the ranks.

However, women accounted for 74 per cent of mining workers who reported sexual harassment at work. Rio Tinto conducted its own review and found 28.2 per cent of women had experienced sexual harassment at the workplace, while 21 women reported actual or attempted rape.

“Any case of sexual harassment is one too many. Sadly, the inquiry has found that sexual harassment and assaults are much too common for women who choose to work in the FIFO workforce," King said in a statement.

The WA Parliament’s Community Development and Justice Standing Committee conducted an investigation and the following report, Enough is Enough, made more than two dozen recommendations to government and the industry to make FIFO safer for women.

A more recent report found the mining industry "appears to have made progress in weeding out explicit and over forms of sexual harassment", however "covert forms" like sexism and misogyny "remain high".

1800RESPECT is Australia's domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support service. If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au

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