Abbott Government “sacks” 45 workers who make defence uniforms


Workers who make Australian Defence Uniforms at the Workwear Group’s Melbourne factory will be at Parliament House today to protest their job losses. The workers and their union, the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union (TCFUA) say that the Federal Government and Defence Minister Kevin Andrews are effectively “sacking” the 45 workers.

The Federal Government’s Defence Material Organisation (DMO) has cancelled its orders for combat uniforms with the Workwear Group. The decision has already resulted in 30 casual job losses, and a further 45 permanent workers are losing their jobs with the closure of the site due on 30 September.

The plant’s closure will have an effect on other Australian manufacturers along the supply chain, creating further job losses.  This decision puts at serious risk continued manufacturing in Australia of ADF combat and other emergency services uniforms. 

The Workwear Group’s Footscray site is a key Australian manufacturer of Australian Defence Force uniforms. There are only two clothing companies in Australia capable of producing combat uniforms onshore. If either of them close, the other is at risk. Without a competitive market the Government is likely to entirely offshore Australian Defence uniforms.

Michele O’Neil, Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia National Secretary said today:

“It’s time that the Government makes the right decision when it comes to spending taxpayers money, forget chartered flights to fundraisers, they should invest in Australian jobs.

This Government has no jobs plan, we have a record number of people unemployed, jobs at risk from the China Free Trade Agreement and now, as a result of their decision, 45 clothing workers sacked in Melbourne.

As a result of this short-sighted decision, Tony Abbott and Kevin Andrews are ensuring a further 45 Australians will lose their jobs, and manufacturing of Australian defence uniforms is at risk of being moved entirely offshore.”

We call on the Federal Government to save local jobs, keep skills and capacity onshore and reverse this decision.

Workers from the site will join Senator Jacqui Lambie and others at:

Wednesday, 12th August


The Mural Room

2nd Floor, Parliament House, Canberra


For further information and comment please contact TCFUA National Secretary, Michele O’Neil on 0419 338 853