AMWU's new campaign to keep jobs

POSTERS, petitions and postcards are now circulating the Fraser Coast in protest of Queensland Rail’s decision to call for international tenders for the manufacture of 200 passenger trains.

Brad Hansen, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union senior delegate, said the items were all part of the union’s new campaign, Make It Here or Jobs Disappear, launched at a community meeting on Wednesday night.

“We are particularly hopeful residents will pick up a postcard,” he said.

“They’re addressed to Minister for Employment and Economic Development Andrew Fraser, postage paid. Basically what we want people to do is sign them and then we’ll send them off all together. They’re available at Chris Foley’s office.”

One thousand jobs, 28 per cent of Maryborough’s economy, and $3 billion in local business could be lost if Qld Rail chooses an international company over EDi and Bombardier next year to build 200 passenger trains.

While the government had confirmed “local industry participation policies” would apply if Maryborough was to lose the contract, workers needed a firmer commitment, said AMWU state secretary Andrew Dettmer.

“I find it pretty strange that here is this major employer providing 28 per cent of the economy and the Bligh government decided to put out an international tender over what has been done in the past 100 years,” he said.

A Qld Rail spokesperson said yesterday, following the community meeting on Wednesday, the department was not able to make any further commitments to the workers because “QR’s procurement process is conducted impartially to ensure the process is competitive and delivers value for money to Qld taxpayers”.

“The procurement process will include detailed consideration of local industry participation and growth.”

Downer EDI and Bombardier is contracted by QR to 2010.

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