Former Newcastle BHP steelworkers reach out to Arrium employees

Posted by | April 13, 2016 | Community, Employers

onesteel

Former BHP steelworkers in Newcastle have reached out to the thousands of Arrium employees facing a nervous future after the company’s collapse.

Arrium went into voluntary administration yesterday.

It is the parent company of OneSteel, which operates several Hunter manufacturing sites, and jobs at seven Hunter-based firms are now under a cloud.

Australian Workers Union (AWU) branch secretary Richard Downie is meeting with Arrium administrator Grant Thornton in Adelaide on Friday to find out the future for local jobs at sites including Mayfield, Cardiff and Hexham.

Mr Downie said it appeared at least one local plant was safe.

“The announcement left Mollycop Mining Consumables, which is the old Commonwealth Steel Plant in Waratah, out of the picture, so they’re safe,” he said.

“As for the rest of Arrium, both in Newcastle and nationally, there’s a big question mark.”

More than 8,000 jobs are at risk nationally, including nearly 3,000 in New South Wales and many of those in Newcastle.

Workers urged to stand tall

Newcastle’s steel sector was in mourning in 1999 when the BHP plant closed at Mayfield.

Ex-steelworker Aubrey Brooks, who represents a large group of former BHP steelworkers, said he understood the uncertainty.

“To lose steelmaking, it is really bad and it is bad for OneSteel here at Mayfield,” he said.

“The people at OneSteel they have been terrific to us; they even helped us build the memorial for the people that died on the main BHP site.

“You can imagine what is going through their minds.”

Mr Brooks said Arrium workers needed to stay positive, despite the devastating news.

“Well that is all you can do; stand tall, stand tall like the steelworkers of Newcastle did,” he said.

“Hold your heads up high and mate, a little prayer wouldn’t hurt either.”

He said it was a dark time for the nation’s steel sector.

“Mate, this is frightening, not only for Newcastle but it is frightening for Australia,” he said.

“I mean, I can’t even understand if the government lets this happen.

“This is really really bad. It is the worst news I’ve heard since 1999.”

By Giselle Wakatama and Penny Evans

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-08/former-newcastle-bhp-steelworkers-reach-out-to-arrium-employees/7309642

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