Thousands of Australian Manufacturers Workers Union (AMWU) members have marched on Parliament to demand more fabrication work from major resources projects in Western Australia’s booming mining industry, with AMWU secretary demanding, “It’s our gas, its our rocks, it bloody well should be our jobs.”
Earlier this month, 7,000 unionists, business-owners, engineers and designers joined the march to campaign for tougher local content laws on our major resources projects, the AMWU said.
The rally reached Parliament House in WA, demanding the Barnett Government in WA that do something about the state’s major resources outsourcing jobs and projects.
The marchers were calling for WA resource projects to deliver more skilled jobs and apprenticeships for WA.
According to AMWU, many of the jobs being created in the region will be gone once the projects are built.
“Once operational, most resources projects provide far fewer jobs,” said AMWU.
AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said the State Government needed to take a long-term view of this problem.
“The current boom is a once-in-a generation opportunity to provide our kids with the training and apprenticeships they need to develop new skills that will last beyond the boom,” he said.
“However, this is not happening. Our engineers need to go overseas if they want to help design our major resources projects and our local workshops sit empty, with most of the manufacturing and fabrication work for our major projects being sent offshore.
“As a result of this, many of the small businesses who supply our industrial areas and workforces are struggling and unemployment is actually rising in places like the Kwinana strip.
“Our natural resources belong to all of us. We can only use them once and the State Government should get the best deal possible from our big resources companies by ensuring as much skilled work as possible is done in Western Australia as our major resources projects are being designed and built.
“If our local engineers and workshops have the capability and capacity to do the work, then the work should be done here. That is what other countries insist on and is what we should demand.
“It’s our gas, its our rocks, it bloody well should be our jobs.”
Labor and the Greens reportedly both gave commitments to support the AMWU’s campaign, with Labor pledging to introduce a bill into parliament to support local jobs.
The mining boom has created many jobs for local workers, however those involved with construction, surveying, testing and setting-up the technology in the mines won’t be needed after the mines are built.
Thousands of technical support personnel are still employed in the mines however, with many being poached from the manufacturing industry due to their flexibility and know-how.
Mining equipment supplier Caterpillar recently announced it would create an additional 50 jobs at its manufacturing factory in Tasmania, as it is struggling to keep up with the demand for underground mining vehicles production.
Image from Perthnow.com.au
Do you think the mining industry is an opportunity or a dampener for the manufacturing industry in Australia? Comment below – we’d love to hear your thoughts!