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AWU Delivers for WA Timber Workers

February 9, 2022

The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) is the union for workers in the forestry industry and is the largest union in the South West WA and Great Southern WA.

On 8 September 2021 the WA State Government announced that it would be ending the Hardwood Timber Industry in the South West and Great Southern of WA by 2023. A decision which was made without consultation with the AWU or Timber Workers.

The union (the AWU) has repeatedly pushed for the Government to reconsider its position and reverse the announcement. Since the announcement, the AWU has been working directly with the State Government to ensure that not a single timber worker is left behind.

The AWU has been locked in negotiations with the McGowan Government over the last two months to ensure that not a single timber worker is left behind. Today, we are proud to announce the Worker Transition and Training Programs to help support you during this transition.

Throughout December 2021 and January 2022, the AWU timber team have been working directly with the WA State Government drafting the Worker Transition Programs 1A and 1B. These programs have been crafted from direct input by members from conversations with Forestry Organiser, Andy Hacking and through the Timber Worker Survey.

AWU WA Branch Secretary, Brad Gandy said:

“The Worker Transition and Training Programs 1A and 1B provide timber workers with choice and certainty. These programs will help buy workers the time that they need to retrain, retool or transition from the hardwood timber industry.”

“Our members are our priority and these programs have been improved significantly through negotiations between the AWU and State Government. We would like to thank the State Government for their flexibility and for approaching these negotiations with an open mind.”

“The Worker Transition and Training Programs combine to provide Timber Workers who are made redundant through the closure of a Timber Mill with between $31,000 and $53,000 to support their future. Whether they are wanting to retrain or retire these programs will help timber workers achieve their goals.”

“These programs are in addition to timber employer’s National Employment Standards (NES) entitlements and redundancy obligations to their workforce and we (the AWU) will be there every step of the way to ensure that our members get every cent they are entitled to.”

“It’s moments like these that highlight the importance of being a member of your union, the AWU.”

Worker Transition Program 1B will provide AWU members who are made redundant through the closure of a mill with a minimum base payment of $31,000 and a maximum base payment of $45,000 based on their years of service in the industry. Every timber worker will also have access to a further $8,000 in training and tool allowances which can be combined for a maximum of $53,000 as outlined above.

Worker Transition Program 1A will provide AWU members who wish to leave the industry early prior to a mill closure with a base payment of $10,000 which can be combined with the $8,000 training allowances for a maximum payment of $18,000.

The AWU believes these payment programs respect our members work, aspirations and allow for them to transition effectively from their current employment.

Our Forestry Organisers, Andy, Jeff and Harry will be in the South West tomorrow and Friday visiting Mills to discuss the programs in more detail although Andy is always available to take your call on 0429 820 125 or [email protected] to discuss these programs with you.

The government has also today opened pre-registration for these programs, which are open to all Timber Workers employed as of 8 September 2021, even if you have since left the industry please visit and register.

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