Manufacturing News

Union announces 21st Century Steel Plan

The Australian Workers’ Union has begun a national consultation with Steelworkers ahead of the launch of a new 21st Century Steel Plan to save the industry during its worse ever crisis.

AWU National Secretary Paul Howes has met with steelworkers at the BlueScope Westernport Steelworks to listen to their concerns about job security.

“This region will be devastated if the local Bluescope Steel plant is forced to shut. For the first time since the plant started it had a Christmas shutdown last December, and another shutdown is now scheduled for Easter,” said Howes.

More than 1000 people are directly employed at this major employer in Outer Melbourne — and many more thousands of jobs in the local economy are dependant on the site.

“Already the plant is down to 50 per cent capacity. We know that could drop as a direct result of big car plants in Melbourne and Adelaide making decisions to slow down their production. And a dramatic slowdown in the building and construction industry has had an effect on demand for Westernport’s steel products.

“We also need to recognise the strategic importance of the steel industry to Australia’s economic and social development,” Howes said.

The AWU leader has begun a national tour of all Australian steel plants to consult with Steel Union members about the future of this important industry.

“Australia needs to urgently adopt a 21st century Steel Plan. We need a stratagem to save a key industry in the face of the global economic crisis,” Howes said.

“Our union is working with members, think tanks and our national economic research unit to present the Federal Government with an AWU Steel Plan in the next few weeks.

“The union has worked closely with the Steel Caucus of Federal MPs, who represent steel industry electorates across Australia.”

Howes said the AWU New Steel Plan will be launched within the coming weeks following consultations in the major steel centres across the nation.

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