Best Tractor Parts employee Michael Murphy with workshop manager Scott Dunn will trial a new roster which has all of the benefits of a mining roster, but the workers will be able to stay home.
Best Tractor Parts employee Michael Murphy with workshop manager Scott Dunn will trial a new roster which has all of the benefits of a mining roster, but the workers will be able to stay home. Lee Constable

Roster keeps men in town

WITH the mining industry luring away staff with some pretty hefty carrots, how can smaller businesses compete to keep their people?

Like most Paget-based businesses, Best Tractor Parts (BTP) has struggled to hold and attract staff in recent years, so they decided to fight fire with fire.

The booming mining industry is offering lucrative pay packets and fantastic rosters that allow workers to spend several days at a time at home with their families.

In a bid to attract new staff, BTP is currently offering a position for a diesel fitter on a four-on, five-off, five-on, four-off roster.

This means workers get all the benefits of a mining-style roster but also get to sleep in their own beds every night.

BTP business manager Simon Ross said it was frustrating to train apprentices and watch them walk away as soon as they complete their trade.

"It's extremely frustrating. That is basically the reason we sat down around the table to see what we can do different," Mr Ross said.

"What can we do different to create some interest ... and to keep people on board."

BTP workshop manager Scott Dunn designed the four, five, five, four roster.

After about 25 years of experience working in the mining industry working on shift and roster timetables he said the four, five, five, four roster was the best.

"I have worked a four-on, four-off roster, which isn't that good because you may only get one weekend a month," Mr Dunn said.

"When I was out on site I missed out on heaps.

"Here, even if you are still working from six to six, you can still go to a barbecue after work."

With the huge demand on BTP to keep up supplies to the mining sector, the roster will also increase the workshop's productivity.

BTP general manager Johan Nienaber said the roster would nearly double the workshop's productivity.

"We will gain approximately 400 hours per the year," Mr Nienaber said.

"It is a win-win situation. We will gain more productivity and our workers will have a better lifestyle roster which will allow them to spend more time with their family."

The roster will start on January 23 this year.


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