According to the ABC, a mass union meeting in Wollongong was attended by over 500 steelworkers, where a discussion over employees’ futures was held.
Last week, BlueScope hinted that the long-term future of the plant was unstable, stating that its closure – along with the loss of 500 jobs – was expected.
In a statement, BlueScope confirmed that they were working with the AWU.
“Constructive discussions are underway with the combined Unions as we enter the mediation process next week,” a spokesman told HC
The ABC reported
that Wayne Phillips, the AWU branch secretary, subsequently told workers that the way forward was intense mediation with the company.
“What else can we do or how can we do it differently to save as many roles as possible... but at the same time deliver the savings that he's looking for?” he said.
Earlier this month, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane suggested that the government was prepared to provide assistance to BlueScope because of the impact the job losses would have on the Illawarra region.
According to Luke Foley, Opposition Leader in NSW, “a range of options” have been “put on the table” to help BlueScope in the short-term.
“We know there's going to be less of us by the end of this process and we know that management is going to take a hit as well,” Phillips said.
“To lose a number of jobs now is better than closing the whole plant, which will devastate this region.”
BlueScope Steel has joined forces with the Australian Workers Union in a bid to keep its Port Kembla plant – Australia’s largest steel factory – open.