Union condemns extent of sexual harassment in mining sector


Tuesday, 28 June, 2022

Union condemns extent of sexual harassment in mining sector

The Australian Workers’ Union has condemned mining companies’ continued inaction on sexual violence following reports of another alleged assault, this time on a female worker in the Pilbara. Police are investigating the alleged sexual assault at Hancock Prospecting’s Roy Hill mine, as a WA parliamentary inquiry into sexual harassment against women in the resources industry is tabled. AWU WA Secretary Brad Gandy said mining companies have comprehensively failed to protect their workers from sexual harassment and failed to reassure them that they will act on their concerns.

“The West Australian mining industry has been saying it has cleaned up its act and that nothing further needs to be done. But if this latest incident isn’t a clear warning to the WA Government that the sector still has deep-rooted problems, I am not sure what is. The government must make a stand and drag these belligerent mine companies and their managers kicking and screaming to solve this problem,” said Gandy.

In its submission to the inquiry the AWU revealed a comprehensive survey had found sexual assault was endemic in the industry, primarily driven by management discouraging women from coming forward. The survey found that one in five had experienced physical acts of sexual assaults; one in five had been explicitly or implicitly offered career advancement or benefits in return for sexual favours; and one in three had received requests for sexual favours and repeated invitations to engage in sexual relationships. WA Police told the inquiry that they had investigated 23 sexual harassment claims at mine sites in two years, 21 against women.

“Women deserve fair access to the skilled, well-remunerated job opportunities offered by WA’s prosperous mining industry. But the mining companies, at every opportunity, have failed to ensure that women can work in these environments safely. The AWU has made multiple, sensible recommendations on how to help fix the cultural problems in WA mining. It’s now up to the WA Government to act decisively and protect women in the industry,” said Gandy.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/agnormark

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