Union fears for manufacturing jobs in Kwinana

Union fears for manufacturing jobs in Kwinana

THE Manufacturing Worker’s Union is concerned BHP Billiton plans to send 24,000 tonnes of structural steel work offshore, which could be detrimental to manufacturing jobs in Kwinana.

State secretary Steve McCartney wrote to BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie, claiming sending work offshore as part of upgrades to the South Flank Iron Ore project would betray local workers.

“We know from past work 24,000 tonnes of steel equates to about 2000 manufacturing jobs. Jobs that we could see filter through to WA’s manufacturing industry in Kwinana,” the letter said.

The letter said WA had a world-class manufacturing industry and the capacity to handle advanced steel fabrication.

“Suburbs close to Perth’s leading steel fabrication and engineering hub have some of the highest youth unemployment rates in the country,” the letter said.

“Why are you not supporting upstream and downstream manufacturing and training opportunities for WA’s young people?”

A BHP spokeswoman said the company’s aim was for 75 per cent of all steel fabrication by value for the South Flank project to be done in WA, which would support local jobs.

“As at the end of last month, we had awarded around A$456 million in 120 contracts for the South Flank mining project, including for village earthworks and construction, miscellaneous works and access roads,” she said.

“Of this, 84 per cent went to companies based in WA.”