Bruck Textiles workers terminated today must get government support: Cathy McGowan and Tim McCurdy
Posted July 11, 2014
Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan, and Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy, have expressed her sympathy for the 60 terminated works from Bruck Textile Technologies (BTT), who learnt of their dismissal today at 2pm.
“Our thoughts are with the workers and families at this tough and stressful time,” Ms McGowan.
“These workers will be wondering how they are going to support their families and live, and keep a roof over their heads.”
At 4pm, Ms McGowan and Mr McCurdy, met with Australian Textile Mills (ATM) CEO Geoff Parker to get a briefing on the situation from the company, which released the bad news today just before midday. Mr Parker said one of the major factors behind the decision to restructure was the continuing decline in government purchasing from overseas manufacturers.
When she learnt of the job losses, Ms McGowan contacted Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, to ask for swift government action through the government safety net scheme for an estimated $3.8 million entitlements owing. This will be totally reliant on the Federal Government paying the cost.
“The Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) was implemented for this situation and I call on the government to fast-track applications to receive owed outstanding employee entitlements,” Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan spoke to the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia before she met with the company, to get the union’s perspective on the situation.
Ms McGowan and Mr McCurdy questioned the company on what its plans were for supporting the workers now left without jobs or entitlements. ATM has committed to establishing a hardship fund with details to be announced when finalised.
Mr McCurdy said while it was not a good news day, there was some light at the end of the tunnel, with the company stating 130 workers would have a secure job well into the future.
Ms McGowan’s office placed phone calls to Centrelink and the office of Minister for Employment, Senator Eric Abetz, today to determine what support exists for the terminated workers.
The downsizing at Bruck Textiles is another hit to a sector going through huge structural changes and demonstrates the urgency for Government to address the issue.
“We need a national plan for the future of manufacturing,” Ms McGowan said.
Mr McCurdy confirmed with the office of the Minister for Manufacturing, David Hodgett, that the State Government could provide assistance with the workers being offered places in the Workers in Transition and Business in Transition Support programs today.
BTT former employees are encouraged to apply for the FEG assistance as soon as possible online at https://employment.gov.au/fair-entitlements-guarantee-feg.
Ms McGowan said it is very important that the Federal, State and Local Government agencies work together to support these families, and this can be coordinated through the Department of Employment.
Ms McGowan returns to Parliament next week and will be working with Senators and cross-benchers to get the Clothing Household Building Clothing and Household Textile (Building Innovative Capability) scheme changes rejected in the Senate.