Foundry workers put on four-day working week

STAFF at Bradken's Ipswich foundry have been put on a four-day week until Christmas.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union state organiser Steve Franklin said staff were put on the four-day week "just over the last week".

"And it is staying that way until Christmas," he said.

"If people haven't got any holidays to claim on that last day of the week they end up with less money.

"The concern is that people will have used up all their holidays and have none left for the Christmas period. It is going to be a very poor and modest Christmas for those workers."

Bradken announced in August that it was expecting to continue to cut jobs despite already shedding 575 nationally this year, including 70 in Ipswich. At the time Mr Franklin said Bradken had backed away from steps to work only four-day weeks following a backlash from employees. Speaking this week, he said workers were forced to accept the four-day week or face likely further job cuts.

"It was either face huge redundancies or accept a four-day week and the guys have decided to try to keep people employed," he said.

Ipswich West MP Sean Choat said he was concerned by the news and would endeavour to meet with Bradken next week when parliament breaks.

"They have got some really skilled people working at Bradken and I'd hate to think that we might lose those people from working in our area," he said.

Looking ahead, Mr Franklin said it was uncertain what situation workers would face beyond Christmas. "Bradken have got a huge plant in China and most of their work goes to where there is cheaper labour," he said.

"They keep the Chinese plants operating while they make the redundancies over here."

Bradken did not respond to a request for comment from the QT.