The Big Shift: The gendered impact of twelve hour shifts on mining communities
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Abstract: This is derived from work for a book we are currently writing on Women of the Coal Rushes, and the focus is on the impact that mining companies and changing shift patterns have had on women and communities. It includes the background to the move from five to seven day rosters, and then from eight to twelve hour shifts, why it was done, the perception of general decline in working conditions, and/or how twelve hour shifts have become embedded in the lives of the miners. It examines some or all of: the impact of these shift patterns on spouses, children, fatigue and well-being of families; and/or the decline of sporting clubs and the subsequent movement of spouses out of the mining communities to the coastal cities through drive-in-drive-out arrangements, the reasons for these and the impact this has on family relationships, road safety and community; since the move to twelve hour shifts. We also speculate on the implications of these changes for unionism; whether the shift changes have been experienced differently by gender between men and women; and then further differently between paid and un paid (mothers and wives) women workers; or have the twelve hour shifts opened a plethora of benefits for both sexes?
First ISA Forum of Sociology
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