Workers urge Government to save their jobs: keep Australian Defence Force uniforms made in Australia

11-May-2015 Workers who make Australian Defence Uniforms at the Workwear Group’s Footscray-based manufacturing plant will protest outside the factory today. The workers and their union, the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union (TCFUA) are calling on the Federal Government and Defence Minister Kevin Andrews to save their jobs.

The Federal Government’s Defence Material Organisation (DMO) recently decided to cancel its orders for combat uniforms with the Workwear Group. This means over 80 employees will lose their jobs with the announcement due on 14 May.

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 our 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 more at risk. Without a competitive market the Government could choose to entirely offshore Australian Defence uniforms.

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

“Just days after Australians commemorated the centenary of ANZAC Day, the Australian Government has decided to stop manufacturing Australian combat uniforms at the Footscray site.

As a result of this short-sighted decision, 80 Australians will lose their jobs, and manufacturing of Australian defence uniforms is at risk of being moved entirely offshore.

The Federal Government continues to make short-sighted decisions on Defence Procurement. From Australian submarines to Australian combat uniforms, this Government continues to send jobs offshore.

We call on the Federal Government to save local jobs, and to keep skills and capacity onshore, by reversing this decision, and commit to ongoing manufacturing of Defence uniforms at the Footscray site. A commitment to ongoing manufacturing in Footscray would truly reflect the Anzac spirit and secure the future Australian Defence manufacturing made here in Australia”.

Unless Minister Kevin Andrews reverses his decision, the consequences will be:
• Over 80 Footscray workers will lose their jobs this month
• Other Australian manufacturers along the supply chain will be similarly impacted
• Other Australian companies are vulnerable to closure due to the lack of competition in local defence and emergency services uniform manufacturing
• Local knowledge, skills and capability in this specialised TCF workforce will be lost
• Australia may lose the capacity to manufacture its own Defence Force uniforms

Details for the Protest outside the Factory are:

Thursday, 7th May
12.30pm
The Workwear Group
Corner Sunshine Road and McArthur Street
Footscray, Victoria, 3011

Further information and an online petition is available on our website: http://ourgear-victorianunions.nationbuilder.com/

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