Many are quick to attack the seemingly exorbitant pay rates of miners in Australia, but recent revelations have highlighted just how hard it is to make a living from the earth, and how tight some resources companies are making it for their workers.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has expressed outrage on behalf of members at one mine, which is paying workers an extra $125 a day to share a single bunk bed between two people, in an arrangement where one sleeps while the other works.

The practice has been referred to as ‘hot-bedding’, in some cases miners are reportedly allocated a different bunk at the end of every shift. With sleeping conditions, working conditions and living conditions all tough on miners, it goes to show the effort that is required to pull the high salaries out of the ground.

Hundreds attended a campsite meeting at the Gorgon Barrow Island gas project to express their disdain for the growing practice, accusing colleagues who accept the arrangement of selling out hard-won workplace conditions, some were labelled ‘scabs’.

AMWU secretary Steve McCartney said it shows where the industry might be trying to go: “’Motelling’ started this slippery slope and we don't know where it will end... Multinationals will stop at nothing in their pursuit of extra profits.”

The outrage of miners could easily turn into industrial action, especially after a High Court decision this week which stops employers from kicking out staff in worksite accommodation if they do strike. The law change allows miners to stay in campsite accommodation even while undertaking industrial action.