Union Supports Plan to Keep Rail Manufacturing Jobs in Australia

Friday 4 May 2018

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) welcomes the ALP’s announcement of a National Rail Plan that aims to secure the future of rail manufacturing jobs in Australia.

Federal and State Governments are planning on spending $100 billion on rail-related projects over the next two decades. The Union maintains that a national rail strategy is vital to maximise the benefits to Australian workers that this spending delivers.

“A National Coordinating Body that promotes States and Territories working together is something the union has been calling for many years,” said AMWU Assistant National Secretary Glenn Thompson.

“In recent years we’ve seen poor procurement decisions by various State Governments lead to local job losses and cost blowouts.”

“In Queensland the Newman Government’s New Generation Rolling Stock was delivered from India riddled with quality issues, and now more recently with the NSW state government offshoring to Korea work that should have stayed in Australia completed by Australian workers.”

“In the recent Senate Inquiry, we saw that employers and workers agreed on the need to create certainty in the sector. “

The Rail Manufacturing Industry employs over 5000 highly skilled workers in areas of future manufacturing, with thousands more in the supply chain. Australia has a rich history of rail manufacturing across the country, with workshops in NSW, Victoria, QLD and WA that could easily increase capacity to take on extra work.

However over recent years the failure of some States to commission Australian-made trains has seen 3,000 workers lose their jobs.

“Rail manufacturing workers around Australia urgently need certainty for their jobs and the future of the industry. We call on the Turnbull government to follow the ALP’s lead and secure the future for Australian rail workers,” said Mr Thompson.

“We’ve seen the benefit of building locally here in Victoria since the Andrews Government implemented their long-term rolling stock strategy with rail workshops taking on extra workers and supporting local communities,” said AMWU Victorian State Secretary Steve Dargavel.

“Australian rail workers manufacture world class trains. We’re competitive on price and blitz the field on quality. There’s no reason for Governments to send work offshore, when the future of local rail manufacturing workers can be secure for generations to come.”

“We need to make sure that better procurement strategies are rolled out nationally and that States are talking to each other to stagger their orders and keep local rail workshops ticking over.”

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