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Issue # 1403      18 March 2009

Caterpillar refuses to level with workforce

Workers at Caterpillar in Burnie, Tasmania are angry that the company refuses to inform them about the future of their jobs. Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union Tasmanian secretary Anne Urquhart said that attempts to get the company to come clean to their workforce about their job security have proved fruitless.

“We keep hearing rumours and reports in the media saying that they’re in trouble, but they won’t tell us anything. They won’t tell us about the future of the plant, whether there will be redundancies and if there are, how many. They refuse to divulge any information.”

Union officials are standing outside the Burnie plant to speak to people before and after work.

Ms Urquhart said the company had not been very cooperative about giving them a space to meet with workers.

“They put us in this small, out of the way room where none of the workers could see us, so we’ve been forced to stand outside the building where at least people know they can talk to us.”

Ms Urquhart said that it was unacceptable for Caterpillar to be taking this stand with their workers within the context of the global economic crisis.

“People need to know what’s going on in order to organise their lives. They’re asking ‘do I have a job or don’t I?’ and the company is not being honest with them. Where’s the respect for their own workers?”

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