Important Update for AWU Steel Members
The GFG Alliance – owners of Liberty’s Australian steel operations and InfraBuild Steel – has recently made announcements about the future of the company globally.
This includes a transformation plan for the Whyalla steelworks, as well as the need to reduce costs across the entire GFG Alliance business globally as it struggles to deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The AWU has been speaking directly with the company about this process, and the vision GFG Alliance has for the future.
Plans for expansion
GFG Alliance has clarified that its $1 billion plan for a new ‘Green Steel’ electric arc furnace and rolling mill at Whyalla will not come at the expense of production on the East Coast.
They have made it clear that under this plan production facilities in Whyalla, Laverton and Rooty Hill will be complementary and not in competition with one another for production and market share.
The enhancements in Whyalla will allow the company to compete against imported steel and in new product and speciality areas.
While the AWU will watch this matter closely, it is exciting to see new investment in Australian steel manufacturing for the first time in many decades.
A bigger, stronger Australian industry is good for Australia and good for steelworkers and their communities.
Changes and cost reductions
In response to the challenges presented by COVID-19, the company has indicated it must reduce costs across its entire business.
The company has indicated it intends to reduce its corporate overheads, office space requirements and will focus on a greater use of digital tools to reduce operation costs.
GFG has indicated that a small number of blue collar positions will be affected as part of this process. This will be subject to significant consultation with the AWU and with workers. These reductions will occur over a period of months, will be spread across the country, and will be voluntary wherever possible.
The AWU will work closely with GFG Alliance to identify where savings can be made without reducing positions. The union remains committed to fighting for every single job.
The AWU and GFG Alliance will begin a consultation process early next week on the above matters, and the union will keep members informed of any developments.
Australia’s steel and manufacturing sector is absolutely critical to the future of Australia. The pandemic has shown us that Australia must be a country that makes the things it needs when it needs them.
The AWU has always stood up for Australia’s steel industry and AWU steelworkers – and we won’t stop now.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your AWU delegate, organiser or branch, or leave a message in the form below.