Workers holding down the fort: Union leader

WORKER PRAISE: AWU SA Secretary Peter Lamps says Citibank's legal challenge is an unwelcome interruption to the good work by Whyalla Steelworks employees.
WORKER PRAISE: AWU SA Secretary Peter Lamps says Citibank's legal challenge is an unwelcome interruption to the good work by Whyalla Steelworks employees.

A South Australian representative from the Australian Workers Union (AWU) has paid tribute to the workers who have helped turn around the Whyalla wteelworks, as its owners face a legal challenge.

State branch secretary Peter Lamps praised the workers for their efforts in helping the steelworks turn a profit, and labelling Citibank's attempt to wind up OneSteel an "unwelcome interruption" to this process.

"The Australian business is enjoying good profits, good order books, and that's come on the back of our members making good quality Australian product," he said.

"This recent development is an unwelcome interruption in the good work that they are doing.

"We note, however, that at this time while there has been an application made, it hasn't been contested and the hearing in May would be a directions hearing."

Mr Lamps said the legal process would take some months to resolve, while scrutiny on refinancing bids for GFG Alliance was well advanced

Having spoken to the GFG workers in Whyalla, Mr Lamps said they were focused on continuing to do "what they do well, which is making Australian steel".

"There would be some people who are extremely annoyed and frustrated and that's not uncommon. It's called human nature," he said.

"That happens whenever a worker in any industry feels threatened about their job security. That's totally understood."

Mr Lamps said workers had more of a say in the direction of the company during the 2016 Arrium administration, but these latest developments were tied to complex court matters.

"Obviously workers and the union don't have as much leverage in these matters when they are before the courts," he said.