Pilkington workers protest threat to jobs

GMH plans to source windscreens and back car windows from a French company in Thailand once the Pilkington contract expires.

Leo Skourdoumbis, Victorian branch secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union's furnishing trades division (FFTS), said that “some of these workers have been at Pilkington Glass for as long as 30 years and they are at a complete loss as to what they are going to do when they lose their jobs”.

Skourdoumbis blamed GMH’s decision on the free trade agreement that the federal government has signed with Thailand.

The CFMEU’s FFTS branch organised a protest against the decision outside GMH's Fishermen’s Bend plant on August 3. Skourdoumbis told the protesters that “Pilkington workers and their families are calling on GMH to reconsider their decision to send these jobs offshore”.

He added that “Howard’s free trade policy is putting you out of work. Free trade is a race to the bottom and it’s a race we’re not prepared to enter.”

ACTU secretary Greg Combet said that GMH’s decision “defies logic”, asking how it could be cheaper to make windscreens as far away as Thailand and then freight them to Australia.

Although the dispute doesn’t directly affect GMH's own employees, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union delegates at Fishermen's Bend came out of the plant to support the protest.

600450 Pilkington workers protest threat to jobs glassonweb.com

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