AMWU has reported union members across Western Australia turned out in their hundreds last week to demand resource companies commit to train and employ locals, rather than exploit overseas labour.
The rally was held last week in Perth and rallies are planned in Karratha and Port Hedland in response to the Federal Government’s decision to allow 1700 foreigners to work on Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill project.
Steve McCartney, AMWU State Secretary, believes it was disgraceful that resource companies were intent on importing labour while youth unemployment in parts of Perth’s manufacturing heartland skyrocketed.
“First they began importing the manufacturing for these mines from overseas, now they want to import the labour as well. How are we supposed to benefit from the boom when governments go weak at the knees when negotiating with large resources companies?”
“It’s time State and Federal governments stood up to these rich resource bosses and compelled them to hire and train Western Australians first.”
Mr McCartney said AMWU members understood their fight was not against overseas workers but ensuring locals remained the priority when it came to training and employment in Australia’s resource boom.
“This is about ensuring something is done for the young people across the state who can’t get an apprenticeship or a job, while our resources sector can provide these opportunities.
“We know bosses would love nothing more than to import a compliant workforce and to drive down wages and conditions by importing workers from developing countries.”
“This is why Governments need to fight to ensure that we have first shot at these jobs and that when temporary labour is used that it is linked directly to training and apprenticeships for young West Australians.”
“Our commitment is first and foremost to current and future generations in WA. From Port Headland to Perth it was pleasing to see unions working together to fight for local jobs.” (AMWU)