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BHP Steel yesterday announced that it had reached agreement with unions over maintenance outsourcing at the Port Kembla steelworks.

The agreement was ratified by the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission, with the implementation of a new Award called the BHP Steel (AIS) Pty Ltd Maintenance Restructuring Award.

The Award clears the way for the introduction of the Transfield Services and Fluor Goninan Alliances, which are expected to result in $150 million of cost savings at the Port Kembla steelworks over the next 10 years.

President Flat Products Lance Hockridge thanked all employees for their collective input into the maintenance review.

"The new Award signifies the conclusion of the journey we have been on together as we begin to put in place a key foundation stone for a promising future as a stand-alone steel company," he said.

Those currently engaged in maintenance repair work and rail transport maintenance work whose positions become redundant will have four choices:

  • Apply for employment with Transfield Services or Fluor Goninan.
  • Apply for positions in Manufacturing Teams or other available positions in the company.
  • Voluntary redundancy.
  • Remain employed by BHP Steel in the Maintenance Resource Group (MRG).

The MRG is only available to those employees whose positions in maintenance repair work are made redundant and who are not selected for a position with Transfield Services, Fluor Goninan, in a Manufacturing Team or another position in the company.

The MRG will be managed by Transfield Services or Fluor Goninan. Its range of activities will include mechanical, electrical, fabrication services and/or other sundry services.

Employees in the MRG will be managed in accordance with the Steelworks Award and will have ongoing opportunities to apply for other positions within BHP Steel.

It is expected that commercial Heads of Agreement documents will be signed with the Alliance partners later this week. An 8-10 week transition period will then commence, with the signing of formal contracts expected by late November, early December.

The Alliance partners will commence advertising job vacancies immediately. Opportunities will also be made available for BHP Steel employees to have discussions with the Alliance partners and case mentors will be on hand to consult with individual employees.

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