Berkeley steelworker fears jobless future

Manny Da Rocha, Glenn Leake and Colin Langlands outside the Port Kembla steelworks, where a number of jobs are on the line. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Manny Da Rocha, Glenn Leake and Colin Langlands outside the Port Kembla steelworks, where a number of jobs are on the line. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

• Contractors to take BlueScope jobs: union

Manny Da Rocha is one of the workers in the raw materials section at BlueScope's Port Kembla steelworks who may soon find himself without a job.

For a 46-year-old with a family to support, it is not a great time to be forced into looking for manufacturing work in the Illawarra.

Mr Da Rocha told the Mercury he was in line for the axe if BlueScope outsourced all operations positions in the raw materials plant where he worked.

"Basically I'd be out of a job," he said.

"My daughter's still second year uni, so I'm still supporting her.

"That's my main concern, and obviously at 46 it's not easy to find employment.

"If you've got the same skill level as a 25-year-old, you know who's going to get the job."

Mr Da Rocha, an Australian Workers Union delegate who lives in Berkeley, said it felt as if the workers in certain areas were being targeted. Only the plant operators seem to be at risk, while white-collar jobs seem to be untouched.

"I could take it if they were just automating the whole line and we all were gone," he said.

"But they're not saying we're bad workers, they're just taking us out, replacing us with someone else for less money.

"I personally believe the agenda is to deunionise the workforce."

Mr Da Rocha said that when jobs and money left the Illawarra, it affected the region.

"You've got to look at the community and the flow-on effect," he said.

"I think if they want to keep steel-working in the Illawarra, they've got to take care of the locals."

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop