The Federal Government’s plan to reform naval shipbuilding and begin a continuous build program is being placed at risk by the scale of job losses in the industry, with more jobs lost at ASC in Adelaide.
ASC has laid off another 33 workers, all contract electricians with specific skills and experience who will be lost to the industry because there is no urgency on the part of the Turnbull Government to fix an obvious problem.
“Workers, unions and the shipbuilding industry have been warning jobs would be lost without new work and that’s exactly what is happening as this Government promises to set up a continuous build program but takes too long to deliver the much needed changes,” said Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) Assistant Secretary Glenn Thompson.
“These workers have been committed to delivering high quality results on our Air Warfare Destroyer program but the Federal Government hasn’t given serious consideration to what happens when work slows down,” he said.
“ The Government needs to take decisive action to stop a tidal wave of jobs being lost this year in the shipbuilding industry.”
ASC has cut almost 900 jobs over the past year with predictions another 600 employees will be out of work by the end of 2016 if nothing changes.
“These are highly skilled workers who can’t be just pulled off the shelf when the Federal Government gets around to deciding to kick start the industry with new surface ship orders,” said AMWU SA Assistant Secretary Collin Fenney.
“These job losses will continue, month by month, until Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne get their act together and take steps to get our shipbuilding yards working again,” he said.
Mr Thompson said the Government was risking Australia’s national security by failing to place new orders.
“The RAN and Defence know there is a lot of work likely to come online with programs for a new fleet of frigates, more patrol boats and of course the future submarines all being developed,’ Mr Thompson said.
“Our message to the Government is unless it acts soon, so many jobs will have been lost, it will take years to reskill new staff to replace the workers who will clearly give up on the industry and find more secure jobs where their skills are valued,” he said.
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