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Issue #1558      1 August 2012

Shipping jobs at risk with Caltex decision to close Kurnell refinery

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has criticised Caltex’s decision to close its Kurnell refinery in Sydney, saying it could have ramifications for shipping jobs in the Australian coastal trade.

On top of the more than 600 jobs expected to be lost as a result of Caltex’s announcement, the MUA is concerned the tankers directly contracted to Caltex could be left in the lurch.

Caltex currently uses Australian-crewed tankers to ship refined product in Australian coastal trade.

These jobs could be lost if the company chooses to use Flag-of-Convenience shipping to carry refined product into Australia from overseas.

National secretary of the MUA, Paddy Crumlin, said the MUA would not accept the removal of these jobs.

“Caltex must commit to the retention of its Australian-crewed coastal tankers. The company should support Australian jobs and commit to a sustainable domestic industry,” Mr Crumlin said.

“This decision is not only bad for Australians who will be hurt by rising petrol prices, but it’s also a terrible blow for Australians whose livelihoods depend on Kurnell operating.”

He said offshoring its refinery operation is a calculated decision to cut costs at the expense of national economic sustainability and independence.

“After operating in the Australia for decades and enjoying a large share of the market, Caltex has a greater responsibility to the community than simply sacking workers.”

The MUA is seeking an urgent meeting with Caltex and its relevant contractors to ensure that job losses are minimised.  

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