Workers Take Action at Osborne Naval Base in South Australia

Written by: Ned K. on 19 May 2024

 

Above:On May 9, ASC workers picketed the entrance to confront their CEO as he was leaving the base.

AMWU and CEPU members employed by the federal government's Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) have been taking industrial action against ASC to win better pay and conditions.

ASC is the federal government entity which employs highly skilled workers to build submarines and other navy vessels, including the proposed nuclear-powered submarines.

ASC also employs workers at its naval base in WA. 

However workers at ASC's naval base in Osborne are paid 18% less than workers performing the same type of work at the ASC base in WA.

AMWU and CEPU members at Osborne are taking industrial action to win "wage parity" with workers in WA.

For the last three weeks AMWU and CEPU members have held rolling stoppages but ASC has not yet agreed to workers' wage parity demand. Industrial action is sure to escalate until workers win.

ASC has had a contemptuous attitude towards workers for many years resulting in numerous disputes. 

The Australian Government says that the Osborne Naval Base workers and other defence bases are vital to the defence of Australia of Australia. However, their class position as primarily a representative of the interests of big business comes to the surface when one examines how they treat workers. At the Osborne Naval Base, the poor treatment of workers applies to support services workers at the Base as well. Most support services such as ground maintenance, security, catering and cleaning are contract workers on the low Award minimum pay. AMWU and CEPU members have been informed that in some cases the ASC cherry picks to enable contractors to pay wages on the lowest paying Award they can find.

All this is going on while the current and past federal Governments throw billions of dollars towards AUKUS and nuclear submarines designed to support a US war with China, which is little to do with defence of Australia's vast coasts and lands.  

 

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