Prime Minister Gillard should fire Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and scrutinise resource companies in more detail, a union argues.
The government’s decision to allow the world’s richest woman Gina Rinehart to import workers for her $9.5 billion Roy Hill Iron Ore project in the Pilbara has been slammed by the Electrical Trades Union (ETU).
There hasn’t been a proper attempt to find local workers for the project and unions haven’t had the opportunity to address the company about their ability to provide workers, ETU assistant national secretary Allen Hicks told AAP.
“We haven’t seen any labour market analysis that Gina Rinehart and her company’s done,” he said.
“We haven’t seen any advertisements for positions.
“The money that’s on offer in these resource sectors, people will make the effort to get over there and involve themselves in that work.”
Mr Hicks said people who have recently lost jobs in the manufacturing sector are the ideal candidates to approach for this work.
The ETU argues the move to bring in 1700 foreign workers will deprive Australians of a chance to earn money and develop skills in the resources sector.
Mr Hicks also said that, although the blame lies with Gina Rinehart and not the workers she wants to import, it will increase workplace hostility and racism.
“Unfortunately it’s going to cause a significant amount of conflict on the sites,” he said.
“People are going to see their kids not provided with opportunities, they’re going to see themselves missing out on work at the expense of overseas labour.”
Allowing workers to be imported is an affront to rank-and-file union members and might cause them to vent their frustrations in the ballot box at the federal election, Mr Hicks said.
“Our militant members are going to see this as an attack directly on them and they’re going to come out swinging.”