Mum and dad workers just ‘trying to make a go of it’ are facing increasing job uncertainty as contract negotiations for the Mulwala and Benalla munitions factories remain indefinitely suspended, according to unions.RACHEAL WILLETT August 19, 2014 4:13pm
Unions representing 700 workers at the Mulwala and Benalla munitions factories have called on the Federal Government to end the uncertainty surrounding the future of the plants for the peace of mind of their members.
With tender negotiations for the DMMA still indefinitely suspended and a date identified by unions as a ‘critical’ point for ordering having come and gone, Dave Corben from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) said the employees needed answers.
“We’re calling on the Federal Government to end a protracted period of uncertainty concerning the future of these sites and the future of the munitions manufacturing industry in Australia,” Mr Corben said.
“At present, Thales operates both sites (as Australian Munitions) but their contract to do so expires in June 2015.
“In January this year, the Federal Government suspended a long-running tender process to determine the company that would operate these government – owned munitions manufacturing establishments from July 2015.
“Since this tender process was suspended the Federal Government has said very little about the future of these sites.”
The original timetable for negotiations for the Domestic Munitions Manufacturing Arrangements Project (DMMA) called for a decision to be made on a successful tender late this year.
Since the negotiations stalled, three shortlisted consortia – one led by the incumbent Thales Australia – have been left in a holding pattern.
Local speculation and concern about the future of the Mulwala and Benalla plants is increasing and unions including the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, Electrical Trade Union, Australian Workers Union, Professionals Australia and the National Union of Workers, are pushing for answers.
“The workers need to know the truth about the direction of this contract before people start to panic,” Mr Corben said.
“There are lots of people worried about their future.
“The unions have written letters to the local members asking for assistance to help the workers feel confident they will be employed next year and we are trying everything we can to try and give some assurances to these people.”
Member for Indi Cathy McGowan is to speak at a meeting of workers in Benalla this week; it is believed an Australian Munitions representative will also attend the meeting to address worker’s concerns.
The unions have also approached Member for Farrer Sussan Ley for support and are seeking a meeting with Defence Minister David Johnston.
“Unions believe the government urgently needs to put in place a long-term contract with Thales to ensure the necessary plans and investments can be made for the continuing operation of the sites,” Mr Corben said.
“Making a decision is not only critical for many hundreds of jobs but also critical if Australia is to have the capability to defend itself in times of crisis.”
A Department of Defence spokesperson told the Yarrawonga Chronicle, “Thales Australia Limited and the Department of Defence have resolved the majority of the aspects that are not clearly defined in the current arrangements.
“The remaining aspects are expected to be resolved before the end of 2014.
“Progression of the DMMA project is still pending consideration by Government. Plans for operation of the facilities beyond June 2015 have been developed.”
Two men charged over the armed robbery of a Shepparton service station have been remanded in custody until next week.
The 2014 Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival has been hailed a huge success by organisers and participants alike.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Echuca College students Calum Pearson, Luke Judd, Kiriana Epararma, Harriet Nilon, Kyle Melhuish and Stephanie Chong are heading to China.
A former Rochester resident is helping women with their confidence and their horses.
Accusations of bullying, disrespect and dangerous conduct.
And the school's best all-rounder for this year.
Finley's Mark Whiley has been traded from the GWS Giants to Carlton - the club he has supported all his life.
District residents are being invited to enjoy Oktooberfest celebrations at Tooborac Hotel and Brewery.
Momentum builds for the greatest show in Cobram, with young and old expected to lap up family attractions in sunny conditions.
Water users have welcomed the governments' announcement of a $350 million package for new irrigation efficiency programs in NSW, but say water availability is in need of improvement.
Farmers and anyone interested in big boys’ toys will be fascinated to check out an unmanned helicopter in action at an Ardmona orchard.
Judge comments, If I were single, I'd marry this steak!
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.