The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has voiced its support for shipbuilders at Forgacs in the Hunter who are being made redundant as the company’s main contract – building hull modules for a naval destroyer contract – draws to a close.
AMWU Assistant National Secretary Glenn Thompson blamed the redundancies on the Government’s failure to provide timely support for the industry by awarding new contracts.
“Our focus today is on supporting highly skilled shipbuilders who now face an uncertain future,” Mr Thompson said.
“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 he was disappointed that local Liberal MPs failed to speak 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,” commented Mr Ayres.
“Earlier advocacy for local industries and jobs would have made all the difference. The result is the loss of skilled jobs for the region.”
The Union has also called on the Government to fast-track contracts for the offshore patrol boats and the future frigates to provide shipbuilders with certainty of supply and work.
“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.”