Contributed from Western Australia
INPEX, a multi-national oil and gas company that is bringing in foreign workers when there are plenty of local Australians ready to do the job.
They are not the only ones and the rise in the practice is causing considerable ire within Australia’s union movement and driving a growing determination to act and bring it to an end.
In this case, qualified oil and gas operators ready to work are missing out. These are Australians who are actively searching for work and sometimes even prepared to move across the country.
Despite this, INPEX can bring in foreign workers to work on their offshore LNG facility with impunity, because the Australian government refuses to act and put a stop to it. The company claims it had tried to look locally but critics have suggested that this is window dressing, to get around the pretense that the go ahead only exists where there is a shortage of available labour.
It is intended that this will help put a stop to the practice by all companies operating in the industry.
The employment of foreign workers in Australia has never really been about meeting real existing labour shortages, but a means by used by unscrupulous employers, to create a cheap source of labour, to cut down wages and working conditions, at a time when decent and secure jobs are becoming scarcer.
Malcolm Turnbull and his government in Canberra go along with this, because it matches is their policy.
There is ample evidence that this is its thrust. There is the cut to overtime rates in hospitality and the return to increasingly anti-union law and actions, not to mention wholesale job losses in the public sector.
The INPEX campaign being carried out by the Australian Workers Union is likely to draw considerable sympathy from the Australian community.