Media release
23 May 2023
Union to fight for a better deal for workers in timber shutdown disgrace

The union representing timber workers will mobilise its members and their communities to negotiate a better worker and community support package in light of the devastating news that the Victorian Government will shut down the State’s hardwood industry in the next six months.
The accelerated shut down plan will conservatively result in up to 1000 more workers getting laid off in 2023-24 than first anticipated under their 2019 plan to cease all native forest harvesting by 2030.
CFMEU Manufacturing Division National Secretary Michael O’Connor said: “This is a gut-wrenching decision.
“Our priority for our members will be to compel the Victorian Government to renegotiate the worker support package.”
The decision comes following the union and wider industry imploring the Government for months to be brought into the tent.
This would have enabled a workable and sustainable plan for the industry and its workers since court injunctions on harvesting last November ceased timber production.
The union noted the timing of the job-destroying decision on Victoria’s Budget Day clearly designed to avoid attention and scrutiny, and confirmed that it had been provided no detail apart from a media release full of platitudes and spin.
“This isn’t a transition strategy this is a media strategy geared at taking the heat off the Government for their pathetic bungling.
“We are now left with a similar disorganised sham approach which has plagued this industry since the Government announced their 2030 shut down plan four years ago.
“The Victorian Government has again demonstrated its arrogance and ignorance by acting recklessly, heartlessly and unilaterally.”

The union will also prioritise fighting the increasingly widespread organised wage theft in the industry and put a spotlight on how Victorian Government mismanagement of employer compensation and contractor stand-down payments is propping up some employers’ exploitation model.
Contact: Rebecca Nicholson – 0409 216053

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