The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has begun a campaign, claiming that the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will hurt Australian employment.
The AMWU’s campaign warns of “potentially huge hits to Australian manufacturing jobs” due to Chinese businesses investing 15 per cent or more in a $150 million in a project being able to import “entire workforces”.
The NSW secretary of the union, Tim Ayres, said the consequences were negative for apprentices.
"This deal will mean that on very ordinary construction projects in our cities and our suburbs, that an investment of just 15 per cent will allow the company to import Chinese workers at lower wages and conditions, denying young construction workers and young apprentices the opportunity for work," he told the ABC.
Trade minister Andrew Robb called the claims xenophobic and an attempt to distract from the Royal Commission into trade unions.
Robb said it merely gave investors certainty and a way around potential shortages of local workers.
“…Maybe they want 30 types of welders that aren't available at the time — [and] they've got to prove that they're not available in Australia — then they will over a short period of time be allowed to bring in suitably qualified welders,” he said.
Image: ABC News