The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) is today supporting 99 shipbuilders at BAE Williamstown in Melbourne who have been made redundant this morning.
The workers were escorted out of the yard immediately by management at approx. 10am.
The redundancies come as work for the BAE yard dries up, and the industry sinks lower into the ‘valley of death’.
“Our focus today is supporting highly skilled shipbuilding members who now face an uncertain future,” said AMWU Assistant National Secretary Glenn Thompson.
“But at the same time we feel great disappointment that Prime Minister Abbott’s recent announcement of surface ships and a continuous build has come well and truly too late.
“It clearly illustrates that the recent announcements made in Adelaide were too little, too long coming, are were focused solely on saving the jobs of South Australian Coalition MPs, rather than the men and women who work everyday to support the Australian Navy.
“We agree that Australia needs a continuous build – we’ve been advocating that for years.
“But the Government’s realisation of this has not come in time to save jobs in Melbourne or the NSW Hunter, and we are also starting to see redundancies in Adelaide.”
The union is calling on the Government to fast track contracts for the offshore patrol boats and the future frigates that it has already announced, and that are slated to come on line in 2 years time.
“We also need the Government to immediately announce that the Future Submarines will be built here in Australia,” said Mr Thompson.
“The longer they delay this announcement the worse it will be for the confidence of the local industry and workers.”
The Government promised over 2 years ago that the future submarines will be built in Australia, but since that time have refused to commit to that promise.