PRIORITIES: The AMWU’s Brad Hansen wants local workers to be put first.
PRIORITIES: The AMWU’s Brad Hansen wants local workers to be put first. APN PHOTO LIBRARY

Hastings Deering ‘fails’ local workers

THE Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union claims that Hastings Deering has rejected calls to put permanent workers ahead of those on 457 visas.

Hastings Deering announced almost 400 job cuts from its workforce this month.

The AMWU "slammed" the company for "their failure" to support permanent local jobs in Mackay and Rockhampton.

AMWU industry co-ordinator Brad Hansen said Hastings Deering's failure to prioritise local jobs had flow-on effects for the local community.

"We need permanent local employment to keep our economy strong," he said.

"Business must play a role in promoting local jobs for local people if our community is to have a real future."

Mr Hansen said with the increased amount of skilled labour and high unemployment, people should not accept there was a need for ongoing use of temporary work visas.

The Daily Mercury revealed companies had a legal requirement to treat foreign workers with the same rights as those on permanent contracts.

AMWU assistant state secretary Terry Bradley called on the Federal Government to urgently reform the temporary work visa program.

"The s457 program is supposed to be utilised for filling legitimate skills gaps," he said.

"With thousands of redundancies this year and Queensland unemployment at record highs I don't see how a legitimate skills gap can exist.

"The AMWU calls on the Member for Dawson and the Member for Capricornia to promote permanent local jobs for our communities by ensuring the Abbott Government conducts an urgent review into the s457 Visa program."

Hasting Deering confirmed employees affected would be selected on a fair and equitable basis.