The mining companies, like almost all of Australia’s large corporations, have slavishly fallen in line with the medical apartheid being imposed on Australia. The hypocrisy is monumental!
The recent protests from FIFO United Australia We Say No! – Fly In Fly Out Workers – are sending a very similar message to what many other workers are saying, which is “This is the greatest attack on workers’ human rights that we have seen in our lifetimes”.
The bad faith is extraordinary. Look at BHP’s annual report, for example, and we see it trumpeting loudly about its ‘inclusion and diversity’ agenda, such as
- Gender balance:
“We have an aspirational goal to achieve gender balance globally by CY2025.”
- Indigenous employment:
“Indigenous peoples are critical partners and stakeholders for many of BHP’s operations around the world.”
- LGBT+ inclusion:
“Our LGBT+ ally employee inclusion group, Jasper, was established in 2017 as a natural extension of our inclusion and diversity aspirations and to reflect Our Charter value of respect.”
- Flexible working:
“We also understand many site-based employees are in roles that by their very nature cannot be performed remotely. We will continue to seek to provide flexible working conditions via part-time and job-share arrangements, flexible rosters and career breaks.”
So what about ‘inclusion and diversity’ when it comes to workers making choices about their own health?
The very fact that large resources companies enthusiastically betray their workers’ interests comes as no great surprise. That they show no interest in the basic Human Right to make personal medical choices is less than shocking. Human Resources blather is usually just that – blather.
But the complete lack of conscience and respect for even basic morality is Olympian, even by their standards. Consider this Deloitte global survey on ‘human capital trends’ in the resources industry:
“Energy and Resources (E&R) organizations rated “well-being” as the most important trend across the sector this year, with 85 per cent rating it important or very important. Though E&R companies understand that well-being is important, they are still trying to define what it means and how to address it.”
OK, if they do not know how to define “well being”, why not start with allowing workers the basic freedom to choose not to have an experimental, not properly tested gene therapy put into their bodies.
Might be a bit of “well being” in that!
It could help the much trumpeted “teamwork” that mining company management aspires to, or be the “next stage in the ongoing evolution of leadership models, in which the organization’s top executives play together as one team, while also leading their own functional teams, all in harmony, to drive more responsive, coordinated and agile organizations,” as the Deloitte report describes it.
Australian resource industry corporations are managed by hypocrites, but those people do not own them. They are, surprisingly to some, mostly owned by Australian superannuation funds and other local institutional investors. These are in turn, unsurprisingly, run by highly paid finance operatives who have no interest in human rights, basic legal protections or democracy. They participate in the same smug hypocrisy without even being aware of it, for the most part.
So, if you are a member of a super fund, why not start asking questions, why not start sending letters to your fund about what they are doing about this medical apartheid?
In particular, if you are in an industry fund that purports to invest on behalf of workers in a specific industry, such as mining or energy, why not start asking questions about what it is doing to protect the basic medical rights of those members?
Remember, the people who manage your super only do so on your behalf.
It is not their money. It is yours.