Workers from Notley Engineering in Geelong, Victoria have been made redundant as a result of the economic downturn.
AMWU Victorian organiser John Irvine said that the announcement came as a shock to all the workers.
“Although things were quiet before Christmas and some people took time off, no one expected the situation to deteriorate so quickly.”
The company lost two of their major contracts and had to stop trading on Monday 2 February.
Worker Richard Jennings who returned to work before Christmas after returning from time off due to a workplace injury, was emotional as he spoke about losing his job.
“I was looking forward to returning to work and this hit me and everyone else in between the eyes.”
Mr Jennings whose daughter has just started school this year is worried about his future and is hopeful that it won’t take too long for him to find another job.
“I have a mortgage and I won’t be able to make ends meet for too long without work.”
Mr Irvine said that everyone’s entitlements were guaranteed which saved workers from further heartache.
He reiterated Mr Oliver’s call for the government to emphasise local content.
“It’s fine to talk about free trade, but it’s got to be fair trade. We have building projects that are happening all over Melbourne and Victoria and the steel is coming from China. The government must push local content. “
Mr Irvine said that it wasn’t just employment standards which were lower in China, but in many cases, the quality of the product.
“Engineers say that standards in other countries are not as stringent as they are in Australia. So it’s not just job losses that are at stake, but the quality of our steel.”