Essential submarine workers strike over unequal pay


South Australian submarine workers have decided to walk off the job this morning at 7.30am at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in a dispute over unequal pay in the rapidly growing sector.

The ASC maintenance and sustainment facility will come to a standstill as 350 trades and operator support workers take protected industrial action over poor pay and conditions.

The maintenance crew work on the Collins Class submarines – originally built at the shipyard – which will be in operation for another 20 years in support of the Royal Australian Navy.

These same workers will serve a critical role once nuclear-powered submarines under AUKUS are built.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union SA Assistant State Secretary Stuart Gordon said: “South Australian workers are performing essential work and critically support the ASC workers in Western Australia. Why are these workers treated any less than those out West?”

AMWU, Australian Workers’ Union and Electrical Trades Union (ETU) members in Adelaide recently rejected the offer by ASC which was seven percent short of parity with their counterparts at ASC at Henderson in Perth – WA workers receive 17 percent on average more than ASC workers in South Australia, according to the union.

This is despite Western Australian ASC workers being trained in South Australia where they are paid more than by those training them.

Gordon said Adelaide workers were the only team able to carry out the Collins’ deep maintenance, or Full-Cycle Docking where the boat is completely stripped down and has its massive diesel engines and main motor removed and refurbished.

The WA division of ASC do more routine maintenance of the boats and breakdowns.

The Coalition government considered moving Full Cycle Docking to Henderson, however ultimately decided it should continue in Adelaide, with routine work continuing in WA.

Gordon said: “Hundreds of submarine experts work on the Collins Class submarines which are an essential part of Australia’s current naval capability.

“It’s a slap in the face for trainers in SA who are being paid less than those they are training. They should be paid more, but they’re just asking to be paid the same – these workers deserve respect.”

Picture: ASC

Share this Story

Stay Informed

Go to Top