Unions and steel industry unite

15-02-2011

Unions and the steel industry have joined forces to fight against the rising number of engineering and fabrication jobs going offshore.

The Australian Steel Institute, the Manufacturing Workers Union, Unions WA and the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers have united to form the Skilled Work Alliance.

They have organised television advertisements, community rallies and will march on state parliament next month to call for new laws to keep work in WA.

James England from the Skilled Work Alliance says big multi-national companies pay a small royalty for the resources and then send much of the work overseas meaning WA is missing out.

"The cost to WA manufacturing is enormous, but it's the cost to the whole community that's really frightening," he said.

"These West Australian firms are the skills factories of the state. Without these workshops we lose those skills factories in the process, so we diminish our state and we end up just being a bunch of window cleaners."

But the Premier, Colin Barnett, says legislation to ensure that jobs stay in WA would not work.

"I think that would be a very poor way of proceeding and probably would make the companies recede even further of giving work locally," he said.

- ABC News

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