Shipbuilding workers call on Minister Pyne to commit more skilled jobs won’t be lost

Nicholas McCallum

MEDIA RELEASE: Thursday, 15 November 2018

The Electrical Trades Union of Australia and the Australian Shipbuilding Federation of Unions (ASFU) welcomes the commencement of building the Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV).

ETU National Industry Coordinator Matthew Murphy said today’s commencement would mark the start of the $90 billion, 40-year continuous build program for naval vessels.

“Shipbuilders have heard Defence Minister Christopher Pyne announce that the ‘valley of death’ is over but we want the minister to commit that no further jobs will be lost at ASC,” Mr Murphy said.

“Australia can’t afford to lose any more skilled shipbuilding workers because those who remain in the industry will form the core of the workforce which will be required to train new recruits and to build our next generation of warships, the frigates and submarines,” he said.

Mr Murphy said shipbuilding workers were calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Pyne to negotiate agreements with BAE and Naval Group to secure jobs in the industry by utilising workers in the shipbuilding supply chain rather than laying them off.

He said workers who could not be employed in the established supply chain should be found employment in South Australia until they could move back to shipbuilding.

In the past year 372 jobs have been lost at ASC. Only last month 56 jobs went, and another 90 were lost in August.

“As the OPV program begins it makes no sense to lay off a single additional worker because we will need all the skills these workers have to ramp up the continuous build,” he said.

“It is vital that Christopher Pyne secures the shipbuilding workforce now so our future naval shipbuilding programs aren’t impeded.”

Mr Murphy said shipbuilding workers had heard a lot of promises and a lot of talk from Christopher Pyne but he had done nothing to secure the shipbuilding workforce.

The National Industry Coordinator added the loss of skills from South Australia’s shipyards was a tragedy and commencement of the OPV build was a late but welcome measure.

“It’s a tragedy that the OPV build didn’t start sooner. It would have saved the hundreds of electrical and metal workers a lot of heartache if the Morrison Government had its act together,” he said. 

Media enquiries: ETU National Communications Coordinator – Nicholas McCallum

0419 499 886, [email protected]

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