AWU accepts need for Bluescope to make cost, staff cuts

The Australian Workers Union has accepted the need for Bluescope to make major savings at its Port Kembla steelworks, and said its interests were broadly aligned with the company’s.

The Australian Financial Review reports that the AWU will support attempted cost savings of $200 million that the steelmaker says are necessary.

These would include 500 jobs being cut at the site.

"The interests of BlueScope and the interests of workers in the Port Kembla steel industry are, for the most part, aligned," said the AWU’s national secretary Scott McDine.

"Given the global environment, we acknowledge that a level of cost cutting is necessary and we are completely open to engaging openly and constructively about how best we can achieve this together."

The union has also repeated its request for changes to government procurement policies as a separate issue, saying that using local steel for infrastructure should be mandatory.

This follows news that independent senators Nick Xenophon and John Madigan are drafting legislation to mandate the use of local-made content, unless there was a good reason not to, in the $40 billion worth of annual procurement.