Rallies to take place in resource sector heartland
Local workers first. EMAs last.
Combined union and community town rallies will be held simultaneously this Sunday in Karratha and Port Hedland over proposed enterprise migration agreements (EMAs) to import foreign labour ahead of local workers.
Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill project has been the first project to be allowed to import workers under an Enterp[rise Migrastion Agreement (EMA) - a total of 1700.
Unions see this as the thin edge of the wedge.
Another 30 odd projects are eligible to apply for EMAs.
Rinehart’s company subsequently came out after unions upped the ante with a mass rally over EMAs in Perth last week and said they would commit 26 million to local training.
This appears to be little more than a PR stunt with strings, conditions and little compliance attached.
Recently, both the Federal and State governments, with no consultation with unions or Austrade were involved in bringing the Saudi based Nasser S. Al Hajri Corporation (NSH) to Perth to service the resources industries in WA and elsewhere in Australia. They are here, they say, to fill the shortfall of any skills shortage with 65,000 overseas workers to call upon. They say local workers would always have priority but drawing on overseas skilled labour was inevitable. Are they going to be the HR wing for Roy Hill and others?
We dispute the premise on which this whole exercise is built: ‘Shortages of Australian labour- the resources construction sector.’
According to the ABS there has been in excess of 100,000 job losses in manufacturing in the last 12 months. Many stories abound of people with applicable skills who find it hard to get onto resource projects. There is plenty of labour in WA and throughout Australia ready and able to do the work.
Planning ahead, (and some of these projects including Roy Hill are a long while off from happening yet) resource companies are putting little or nothing into training our kids or reskilling mature age workers. They contribute nothing from civil constructions to the WA Construction Training Fund yet are the largest users of construction labour. Unlike all builders who last year contributed $30 million to regenerate skills, only to see a lot go to workers they funded to be trained go to work on resource projects.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government's ‘Resource Sector Jobs Board’ is nothing more than a web based portal for HR companies and Seek. It lacks transparency and currently there is no way to publicly monitor or reconcile its effectiveness.
We’ve now got a proposal (from Cape) for over 2,000 457 visa workers in sub-trades occupations for other mega-resources project jobs on Gorgon, Wheatstone, Ichthys and Browse – with no justification offered to demonstrate the need for foreign workers, other than a single sentence asserting ‘shortages’.
People in the North West and all over Australia need to understand what’s going on. Hence the rallies planned this Sunday in Karratha and Port Hedland.
Union and Town Rallies July 15 at 12 Noon.
Captain Bert Madigan Park which is located in Port Hedland on The Esplanade.
Anzac Monument outside the Roebourne shire which is on Welcome Rd in Karratha.
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