Unions agree AUKUS job protection deal

Glenn Thompson of the Australian Shipbuilding Federation of Unions addressing CSEU delegates.

Unions representing shipbuilding, aerospace and defence workers have agreed a job and union protection agreement which was launched at the recent conference of UK trade union federation the CSEU.

The agreement was reached by the Australian Shipbuilding Federation of Unions, the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions in the UK, the AFL-CIO Metal Trades and IndustriALL Global Union. The agreement provides for unions to co-operate in ensuring union the representation of workers employed in the building,  build, and refurbishment of submarines and other vessels in Australia, UK and the USA.

The deal provides for workers seconded to sites outside their own countries to be represented by the appropriate trade unions in the host countries – from design to decommissioning of vessels; to build trade union power and influence and to ensure that workers in Australia, the UK and the USA are treated fairly , that the highest common standards apply, and co-ordinating trade union activities to maximise union power.

Workers seconded to another country will received union representation and have full access to local shop stewards and their union. 

The unions agreed to ensure that they take responsibility for future generations and that workers are treated with dignity and respect.

Glenn Thompson Australian Manufacturing Workers Union National Secretary and national convenor  of the Australian Shipbuilding Federation of Unions outlined details the deal to UK delegates in Birmingham and Ian Waddell, General Secretary of the CSEU told delegates that this was the first agreement of its kind connected with AUKUS and was a real breakthrough showing what can be done when unions work together. Also taking part in the signing of the deal were Atle Hoie General Secretary of Industrial Global Union and Anna Fenley director of regulatory and state policy of the United Steelworkers Union representing the AFL-CIO.

Under the AUKUS pact, the US and UK will share nuclear propulsion technology with Australia and the project is expected to create and safeguard thousands of highly skilled jobs and apprenticeships  in the three countries.

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