Fight continues

Unions have vowed to continue to fight for local jobs, after the next phase of a multi-million dollar recycling plant at Australian Paper’s Maryvale Mill was awarded to a Melbourne-based contractor.

John Beever will install a second-hand pulp-drying machine in an existing shed using a small workforce of four to five people, according to unions.

They said none of the workers would be from the Latrobe Valley.

“It’s not really okay, despite it being four jobs. There’s plenty of people here that are unemployed,” Australian Workers Union Gippsland organiser Jeff Sharp said.

The AWU and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union are now waiting on tenterhooks to see which company will be awarded the main construction project which is expected to create more than 100 jobs.

The Electrical Trades Union said the electrical component would create about 30 jobs.

“We’re more than happy to have other companies come in to the area, as long as they pick up local labour,” state organiser Peter Mooney said.

He said he was being phoned regularly by members desperate for work. Representatives from John Beever and Australian Paper did not return calls from The Express.