Call For Migrant Labour Angers Union (Australia)

Call for migrant labour angers union
The Age
August 24, 2006 – 4:48PM

The forestry union has called on major pulp and paper companies to rule out using migrant labour.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is outraged by an industry paper which recommends investigating using unskilled labourers from overseas.

The National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI) skill shortage audit recommended that, among a range of options, the government better inform it of migration options to assist labour shortages.

The NAFI paper said many groups in the wood and paper products industry had highlighted the need for clearer migration options for unskilled and semi-skilled workers.

“There may be existing options for the industry to exploit that it is not aware of,” it said.

NAFI suggested seconding an adviser from the immigration department to the industry.

CFMEU secretary Tim Woods described the report as disgraceful.

“Calling for migrant labour when many workers in our industry are concerned about their employment security is the same as calling for existing workers to be replaced by migrant workers,” he said in a statement.

“The report even says that migrant workers would be pleased to work for less (pay) than existing workers.”

Mr Woods said there was no skills shortage in the pulp and paper industry.

“Every employer in the Australian pulp and paper industry must immediately and publicly renounce this half-baked report that has been produced by their association,” he said.

He called on companies to reject the report.