Union urges investigation into Bechtel welding tests

A UNION has called on Bechtel to undertake an urgent investigation into welding test procedures conducted in Gladstone for the Curtis Island projects, following comments from Bechtel over the high welding test failures of Australian welders.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union has called on the Federal Government to tighten the 457 visa rules to ensure all local employment opportunities are exhausted before bringing in overseas workers.

Bechtel Gladstone has been using the 457 visa program to bring in workers from the UK and Ireland as special-class welders and pipe fitters in the past two months to meet its needs.

AMWU Queensland secretary Rohan Webb said the union was focused on making sure resource companies were employing local workers as a matter of priority.

"The Federal Government has shown no commitment to Australian workers by allowing companies to use 457 visa workers at the expense of Australian jobs," he said.

"We know that Bechtel has the right under law to bring in 457 workers, but we believe that local workers should be given the first opportunity for employment."

He said there was no shortage of Australian workers seeking employment.

"Companies and the government need to step up to the plate to ensure that there are opportunities for local workers, and that opportunities for training and skill development are provided.

"We are also calling on Bechtel to employ more apprentices to avoid future skills shortages. They've done a reasonable job so far but more work is needed."

Topics:  457 visas australian manufacturing workers union bechtel business curtis island gladstone welding

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