|Issue No 63
|21 July 2000
BHP Holds Gun to Kembla's Head
BHP has been accused of corporate blackmail by threatening to withdraw future investment from the Port Kembla region if plans to contract out 1,000 jobs are actively opposed.
Workers are currently threatening a mass stop work meeting in early August to rpotest the plans to contract out the steelworks' entire maintencance section.
Australian Workers Union Port Kembla branch president Andrew Whiley says management has quietly threatened unions and the community that the board will not approve fututre capital investment at Port Kembla unless the contracting out proposal is accepted.
"This is basically corporate blackmail of not only the Illawarra community but the cotre of Australia's remaining iron and steel production that BHP still controls," Whilley says..
BHP local management informed workers this week that they planned to contract out entire maintenance facilities - 1,000 blue collar jobs - regardless of any arguments the workforce put forward.
Whilley says the positions will be filled by contract workers - but the concern the community will lose full-time jobs, and end up with a predominantly casual workforce.
BHP argues the contracting out is necessary for 'cost and efficieny reasons - an argument that doesn';t wash with ther woerks.
"We don't accept that - our view is that its part of the slimming down of the industry to the point that steel making is just a vestiage and Port Kembla is a skeleton," Whilley says..
Job level delegates have decided to campaign against BHP and tio seek approval from fellow owrkes for a mass topwork meeting that qwould bring iron steel production to a halt - early August
Interview: Paul Keating's Big Picture
The former Prime Minister is still painting on a broad canvass. He talks to Workers Online about the new economy, fair trade and political chi.
Unions: War in the West
Only six months after signing individual staff contracts, the gloss has worn off for some of BHP's Pilbara iron ore workers.
Environment: Farmers Fudge DNA Dangers
Farmers have missed the chance to have a meaningful debate into the use of genetically modified crops.
International: 'Dot Union' Proposal on the Table
ICANN, the global governing body of Internet domains, has released the following expression of interest in proposing a top-level domain for trade unions
Economics: Edge of the Abyss
Political economist Frank Stilwell argues that a constellation of events gives good reason to be worried about the Australian economy.
History: Taming the Tigers
Prominent labour historian, Dr Ming Chan, is visiting Australia to report on how workers are faring in the new Hong Kong.
Review: Music is Crap
It's already the second half of the first year in the new millenium. Who would have ever predicted a crisis in the popular music industry when we are at such an advanced stage ?
Satire: Last Kosovars Found Behind Couch
State Emergency Services personnel were called to a house in Brighton this morning, where the last five remaining Kosovar refugees have been found wedged behind a couch.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005