In a victory for Newcastle workers, local engineering company Varley Group has secured the contract to unload cargos of wind turbines from ships arriving at the Newcastle Port.
The win comes after the shipping company that had previously been using Singaporean workers to unload the ships caved to community pressure and agreed to stop this exploitative practice.
Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon welcomed the news.
“As the wind turbine parts are welded to the deck of the ship, this is specialised work that calls for specialised metal workers to ensure safety,” Ms Claydon said.
“It was always outrageous to deploy a fly-in crew from Singapore to unload ships at our port when there is an abundance of skilled workers right here in Newcastle.”
Ms Claydon credited strong community pressure for the turnaround.
“The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Maritime Union of Australia, workers and community members united to send a clear message that this behaviour is not acceptable in Newcastle.”
Ms Claydon cautioned of the need for ongoing vigilance to protect Australian jobs.
“We are seeing too many cases of companies abusing industrial relations loopholes or blatantly disregarding the law altogether,” Ms Claydon said.
“Regretfully the Turnbull Government is too busy attacking unions to stand up for Australian workers and Australian jobs.”