Port Kembla steelworkers get bonus pay

Port Kembla steelworkers lost their bonuses in a cost-cutting program in October last year. This year, it has returned. Picture: Adam McLean

Port Kembla steelworkers lost their bonuses in a cost-cutting program in October last year. This year, it has returned. Picture: Adam McLean

For the first time since the dark days of the 2015 steel crisis, BlueScope steelworkers are about to find a little bit extra in their pay packets.

In a sign that things are picking up with the Port Kembla steelmaker it will be paying workers a bonus for improved performance levels.

It marks a considerable change of fortunes for the steelworkers compared to this time last year.

With BlueScope looking to save money, the workers had to agree to $200 million in cuts otherwise the Port Kembla steelworks would close its gates.

As well as a substantial number of redundancies, the cost-cutting included a wage freeze for three years and regular bonuses were put on hold.

But in recognition of reaching set levels of profitability and production, workers will get a bonus in the coming months – just in time for Christmas.

BlueScope declined to comment on the amount of the bonus, citing confidentiality and the complex way it was calculated.

“The incentive scheme being paid this quarter applies to employees covered under the enterprise agreement,” said Port Kembla works manager David Bell.

“Other Port Kembla manufacturing employees participate in an annual incentive scheme which has been reinstated also.

“Both schemes are based on profit sharing principles.”

Mr Bell said the ability to pay a bonus to employees could be seen as a good sign of the health of the Port Kembla steelworks.

“It reflects a strong turnaround in performance,” he said.

“Our focus remains on the longer term challenge of earning the right to reline our No 5 Blast Furnace in 10-15 years’ time.”

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