The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) is today supporting shipbuilders at Forgacs in the Hunter who are being made redundant, as progress on the air warfare destroyer modules that the yard is building for ASC near completion.
Most of the people to go are boilermakers and welders and these job cuts are on top of cuts to roles in the office which are winding down.
The redundancies come as work for the yard dries up, and the industry sinks lower into the ‘valley of death’ as no new contracts are coming from the Federal Government.
“Our focus today is on supporting highly skilled shipbuilders who now face an uncertain future,” said AMWU Assistant National Secretary Glenn Thompson.
“We feel great disappointment that Prime Minister Abbott’s recent announcement of surface ships and a continuous build program for Naval ships has come well and truly too late.”
Tim Ayres, NSW AMWU Secretary, said that it was disappointing that local Liberal MPs – who had the ear of the Government and Minister – hadn’t spoken out more strongly for local jobs.
“We’re disappointed that MPs like Bob Baldwin have only come to the shipbuilding party in the last month or so.
“Earlier advocacy for local industries and jobs would have made all the difference. The result is the loss of skilled jobs for the region.”
Proof that the problem lies at the feet of the Government comes from comments from Forgacs General Manager Greg Hodge, who has said that ‘the entire shipbuilding industry is waiting to see what Canberra does with ordering new ships.’
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.
“Submarines support the entire shipbuilding industry around Australia – not just in Adelaide – as components and blocks could be built here at Forgacs, like the AWD modules.”
Tim Ayres 0419 417 084
Donherra Walmsley 0409 655 868