750 workers to strike at shipbuilder Forgacs today: AMWU

The AMWU says over 750 workers will walk off the job at ship-builder Forgacs during two shifts today.

The Newcastle Herald reports that the union is intensifying its campaign against Forgacs, which is doing work on welded steel modules on Air Warfare Destroyers, and the move is timed to interrupt a planned barge shipment of hulls to Adelaide.

‘‘This latest stoppage is timed to coincide with that operation,’’ said Daniel Wallace from the AMWU.

According to a statement from AMWU earlier this month on May Day action that saw 650 Forgacs workers leave their jobs to march on Newcastle’s town hall, the union wants “improved job security” and a six per cent wage increase for its workers. Forgacs has offered an increase of 3.25 per cent. The AMWU would also like increases to afternoon shift and overtime loading rates.

The protected industrial action by Forgacs today will take place in two four-hour blocks, 11:30 am to 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm, at four Newcastle sites – as well as at smaller sites in Sydney and Brisbane – reports AAP. These will affect the day and the afternoon shifts.

"Forgacs has ruled out better pay so it needs to offer better working hours, or risk losing its skilled workers to the mining industry," said Wallace.