The AMIEU Newcastle & Northern NSW Branch condemns Federal Labor’s decision this week to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership, torpedoing the efforts of Australia’s union movement to make sure that Australian workers are put first.
At a time when thousands of skilled local meat workers are un- or under-employed all across Australia, it is devastating to see Federal Labor turn its back on the workers who created it and embrace profit-seeking big businesses instead.
Multinational meat processing corporations are already using backpacker and working holiday visa holders to undermine local workforces.
If you want to know what the future of Australian meat work under the TPP looks like, simply visit places like Thomas Foods in Tamworth – where their workforce is made up of nearly 90% migrant workers, in a region where youth unemployment is currently more than double the national average, and drug use is out of control.
Big meat businesses like Thomas Foods are already doing everything they can to undermine local workers. If the TPP is ratified, all of the current restrictions on these business will be removed and they will be allowed to bring in workers from Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Canada, Mexico and Chile – all without needing to advertise the jobs locally first.
With no oversight and no consequences, these workers will be subject to rampant exploitation, underpayment and workplace injuries, on a horrific scale. Meanwhile, the local economy will suffer, as a constantly churning migrant workforce takes its money out of the country, and local kids are unable to get work.
Supporting local workers means supporting a local economy that grows Australia and benefits everybody.
Signing the TPP means undermining local workers, undermining Australia, and leaving the country at the mercy of secretive, mysterious ‘corporate courts’ such as the infamous and highly controversial ISDS.
“This is a disgraceful, appalling decision from the Labor party,” said AMIEU Newcastle & Northern NSW Secretary Grant Courtney.
“The Labor party is supposed to be helping the union movement change the rules, but instead is bringing in hundreds of new rules, all of which will make it easier to exploit working people and transfer more wealth to big business.”
“What Australia needs is a focus on local employment, with independent local labour market testing, and a renewed investment in vocational education and training to up-skill local kids and give them rewarding local careers.”
“The last thing Australia needs right now is to give big business more power, and that’s exactly what signing the TPP will do. This is a disappointing and disgusting decision by a party that has forgotten who it is supposed to be standing for.”
AMIEU Newcastle & Northern NSW
PH: (02) 4929 5496