Boeing is cutting 300 jobs at its Melbourne plant but the Victorian premier says it will continue to have a significant ongoing presence in the state.
Boeing’s Melbourne factory will remain open for a decade at least despite the loss of 300 local jobs.
The US-based aerospace manufacturer will cut 300 workers, mainly on fixed-term contracts, from the current workforce of more than 1300 by the end of the year at its Boeing Aerostructures Australia (BAA) plant in Port Melbourne.
The plant is the sole supplier of some flight control surfaces for the wings of Boeing jets including the flagship 787 Dreamliner, for which it holds a 20-year, $4 billion contract.
Boeing said the move was a natural part of the manufacturing cycle and the end of the contract positions was in line with a long-established financial forecast.
A spokeswoman for Boeing would not be quoted about Boeing’s future but confirmed the Dreamliner contract – Australia’s largest aerospace contract – was first signed in 2004 and has another 10 years to run.
Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said Boeing would remain in Melbourne for the long term.
“Boeing indicates that this is a fluctuation due to workflows but their main workforce of over 1000 will be continued and will continue well into the future,” Dr Napthine told reporters on Thursday.
Boeing’s job cuts are likely to be fewer than 300, AMWU acting state secretary Craig Kelly said.
Mr Kelly, who had talks with Boeing on Thursday, said 80 or more contract workers could be offered permanent jobs.
“This place is one of our better news stories as it is a centre of excellence for what they do, building wings for the Boeing fleet,” Mr Kelly told reporters.
“They say they are profitable.”
But he said the job market remains tight in manufacturing, with job losses in Victoria at Ford, Holden, Toyota and Alcoa.
Boeing’s announcement means the Abbott government faces an even greater task to meet its pledge to create a million new jobs, says Labor’s employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor.
Labor says there have been about 20,000 job losses announced since the Abbott government came to power.
“The government made a commitment that it would create one million jobs in five years,” Mr O’Connor told reporters outside the Boeing plant.
“We now have unemployment at six per cent, the highest for a decade.
“These job cut announcements have yet to take effect and are yet to be counted as part of the unemployment number.”